The story of Hunches
"Hunches about Jesus" was the initial work I developed in what has become an ongoing bible-story telling project. It was initially developed with 'seeding money' from the Australian Research Theology Foundation.
I initially requested money to complete a book I had half-written from my experiences as a CRE teacher in 1999-2000 at Point Lonsdale and Queenscliff Primary Schools. This CRE teaching confirmed my belief that nothing is lost and much is gained when the Bible is read and explained to primary school students in story-telling ways that respect its historical context. The bible can be compelling and 9 year olds do not always see it as "daggy religious stuff". My exposition of Mark's Gospel diverged from conventional didactic ways of understanding God's revelation.
Taking small sections of Mark's Gospel at a time, the book consists of over 100 separate "chapters" and if it were to be in book form it would be over 300 pages. It is designed for "good readers", but also for parents who read to their children. At the beginning is a light introduction to books and stories as part of the life God intends for us. Briefly, Hunches affirms an reading that relates to our every-day experience without resorting to either scientism or doctrinalism. As with the parable of the sower, and other parables, the young reader is invited to develop imaginative responses. I came to the view that Mark's Gospel was written with a significant Galilean "rump" of Jesus' disciples in mind, and this meant that Christian parents need some help in passing the "Jesus story" on to their children and grand-children. Read like this it is no longer an eclectic jumble of anecdotes but a purposively written gospel, in the first instance written to meet the needs of particular group.
I started writing this book as a "birthday present" for a young friend, Sarah Marriott (now 21 years), then of Elliminyt. I'm told she still likes reading; I hope that Hunches has encouraged her to keep on listening to what the Bible tells us. She encouraged me with her initial assessment of various Hunches, and I am hopeful that someday it can be published as a "hands on" book, adorned with illustrations that a bible story book for children needs to confirm a child's delight of hearing the stories of Jesus.