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By Rod Mitchell in All Sorts

How do we present our stories, our faith, and our spirituality to the world wide community?

All stories consist of common structural elements or stages found universally in myths, fairy tales, dreams and movies. There are twelve stages recognised by the film industry which make up what is known as the Hero’s journey.
I wonder how many of these stages you might recognise within the books you read, the films you see and maybe even in your own family stories and faith experiences?
1. The journey starts from the known – ordinary world where we can get to know the Hero and identify with him-/ her in their context. Every good story involves a problem or Central Dramatic question that disrupts the ordinary World. The Hero- must enter the Special world to solve the problem, answer the dramatic question, and return balance to the ordinary world. The ordinary world is the Hero’s home, safe haven upon which the Special World and the journey’s outcome must be compared.
2. The Call to Adventure.
The call to adventure sets the story rolling by disrupting the comfort of the Hero’s Ordinary World, presenting a challenge or quest that must be undertaken. The call throws the ordinary world off balance, and establishes the stakes involved if the challenge is rejected. The Hero may need a succession of Calls before finally realising that a challenge must be met.
3. Refusal of the Call:
A hero refuses the Journey because of fears and insecurities that have surfaced from the Call to Adventure. The hero is not willing to make changes, preferring the safe haven of the Ordinary World.
Without risks and dangers or the likelihood of failure, the listeners or audience watching will not be compelled to be part of the hero’s Journey.
4. Meeting the Mentor:
The Hero Meets a Mentor or Wisdom Source or gains confidence, insight, advice, training, or magical gifts to overcome the initial fears and face the threshold of the adventure.
5. Crossing the Threshold:
Crossing the threshold signifies that the Hero has finally committed to the Journey.
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies:
Having crossed the Threshold, the Hero faces Tests, encounters Allies, confronts Enemies, and begins to learn the rules of the Special world. In this phase of the Journey the Hero must prepare himself for the greatest Ordeal yet to come and thus needs this stage to test their skills and powers, or perhaps seek further training from the Mentor. This initiation into the Special World also tests the Hero’s commitment to the Journey and questions whether they can succeed.
7. Approach the inmost Cave:
The Hero must make preparations needed to approach the Inmost Cave that leads to the journey’s Heart, central Ordeal. Maps may be reviewed, attacks planned, a reconnaissance launched, and possible enemies forces whittled down, before the Hero can face their greatest fear or the supreme danger lurking in the Special World.
8. The Ordeal:
This is where our Hero engages in the Ordeal, the central life –or-death crisis, during which they face their greatest fear, confront their most difficult challenge as the Journey teeters on the brink of Failure. Only through this death like experience can the Hero be reborn, experiencing a resurrection that grants them greater powers or insight to see the Journey to the end.
9. The Reward:
Having survived Death, slain the dragon, or weathered the Crisis of the heart, they now earn the reward they sought. A Hero’s rewards may come in many forms: things; insights; new knowledge; reconciliation with a lover. Whatever the treasure they have earnt the right to celebrate.
10: The Road Back:
The Hero must recommit to completing the Journey and accept the Road Back to the Ordinary World. The Hero may need a force to ease them out of the Special world.
11. The Resurrection.
This ordeal and Resurrection can represent a ‘cleansing’ or purification that must occur now that the hero has emerged from the land of the Dead. The Hero is reborn or transformed now adding all the lessons, insights and wisdom they have acquired along the way.
12. Return with Elixir:
The true hero returns with an Elixir to share with others or heal a wounded land.
Our good news gospel stories have this same wonderful cycle, and so does any great worship. So this is one challenge we have to face as we journey on the invitation to enter the special world of the Internet. How do we present our stories, our faith, and our spirituality to the world wide community?
This material is a summary from a chapter in the book: “Myth and the Movies” by Stuart Voytilla.
Rod Mitchell