What is Bahá’í Storytelling?
We'll begin with a proposed definition of Bahá’í Storytelling that uses some of the major Bahá’í principles, such as the eradication of all forms of prejudice and the equality of women & men, as basic criteria for story selection and usage. This definition also establishes that Bahá’í Storytelling, when offered in a spirit of service, is an act of worship.
There is no official definition of "Bahá’í Storytelling". However, as I did my graduate research in Bahá’í Storytelling and have been a practicing, professional storyteller for 30 years, I've been able to form some clear ideas on the subject. I'd like to suggest the following definition of "Bahá’í Storytelling" in order to create a basis from which ideas about the topic can grow. Feel free to agree, disagree, or just ponder. Art is, after all, subjective.
A Proposed Definition of "Bahá’í Storytelling" - LET'S OPEN THIS DISCUSSION.
- Bahá’í Storytelling should adhere to the model provided by Abdul-Baha, the Bahá’í Exemplar, as He demonstrated the skills of a Bahá’í Storyteller in His public and private talks.
- As an artform, Bahá’í Storytelling is the thoughtful oral telling of stories from Bahá’í written sources as well as from Bahá’í oral traditions, which relate Bahá’í history, or illustrate Bahá’í principles.
- As an artform, Bahá’í Storytelling can also be the thoughtful oral telling of stories from non-Bahá’í oral or written sources or traditions, which reflect or exemplify Bahá’í beliefs (See resources page for information about the Baha'i beliefs and principles).
- As an artform, Bahá’í Storytelling can include the thoughtful oral telling of stories such as parables from the Bahá’í holy texts, Bahá’í history, Bahá’í folktales, Bahá’í biographies, original Bahá’í stories and anecdotes, and well-crafted personal Bahá’í stories.
- Clearly, care will be taken in the proper crediting for the sources of the stories being told, and every effort will be made to be true to the content of the story, while also choosing non-biased language whenever possible in the retelling of stories.
- When storytelling is offered in a spirit of service, and the stories are finely crafted into well-honed tales, the art of Bahá’í Storytelling can also be considered an act of worship.