Augsburg Fortress

Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us

Between the Listening and the Telling: How Stories Can Save Us

"Now more than ever, we need a teacher and a book such as this."--Anne Lamott, from the foreword

Stories tether us to what matters most: our families, our friends, our hearts, our planet, the wondrous mystery of life itself. Yet the stories we've been telling ourselves as a civilization are killing us: Fear is wisdom. Vanity is virtuous. Violence is peace. In the pages of Between the Listening and the Telling, storyteller, author, and activist Mark Yaconelli leads readers into an enchanting meditation on the power of storytelling in our individual and collective lives. We tell stories to remember who we are. We tell stories to savor the pleasure of living. Stories can be medicine, and they can transform entire communities.

Through his work with The Hearth nonprofit, Yaconelli has spent thousands of hours listening to people as they grieve loss, deepen friendships, strengthen families, shed light on injustice, and recover hope. In this moving exploration he shows us how individuals and communities can recover the practice of storytelling to address the despair of climate change, the trauma of school shootings, the tragedy of undocumented immigration, and the daily struggle for meaning.

With a foreword by Anne Lamott, Between the Listening and the Telling offers an alloy of story, commentary, and meditation. In an era of runaway loneliness, alienation, global crisis, and despair, sharing stories helps us make a home within ourselves and one another.

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  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506481470
  • eBook ISBN 9781506481487
  • Dimensions 5.75 x 8.75
  • Pages 206
  • Publication Date August 9, 2022


"This is an immersive, elegant meditation, an offering of grace. Mark Yaconelli ushers us into rooms full of authentic stories, where facades fall and suffering and joy are metabolized."

Kirsten Powers, CNN Senior Political Analyst and New York Times bestselling author of Saving Grace: Speak Your Truth, Stay Centered, and Learn to Coexist with People Who Drive You Nuts

"For a world so afflicted with isolation and disconnection, this beautiful book is medicinal. Yaconelli reminds us how we find our way home."

John Pavlovitz, author of If God Is Love, Don't Be a Jerk

"Mark Yaconelli shows how our stories can form bridges to greater understanding and compassion. Between the Listening and the Telling will give you renewed hope and inspiration for how storytelling can bring people closer together. I highly recommend this book to anyone doing community work or leading organizations."

Mandy Yeahpau, director of social media, IllumiNative

"I have spent my life around stories and storytellers, and Mark Yaconelli captures the vibrancy and necessity of the storytelling world. The beauty of this book lies in its perception, its acuity, its warmth, and its authenticity."

Lisa Consiglio, CEO and cofounder of Narrative 4

"Scientists, artists, mathematicians, wanderers, dreamers, and the rest of us have been searching for meaning. Mark Yaconelli finds the answer in the heart of the one democracy that we all share--our stories. A lot of things can be taken from us--our houses, our bank accounts, even our lives--but Yaconelli recognizes that nothing can take away the power of storytelling."

Colum McCann, National Book Award winner for Let the Great World Spin

"Between the Listening and the Telling is vulnerable and moving, humorous and humble, beautiful and wise. Story by story, Mark Yaconelli reveals the ancient path that leads to greater love, hope, connection. If you're wondering in this time of alienation and divisiveness whether we still have a common humanity, then this book is for you."

Melissa Wiginton, vice president for Education Beyond the Walls, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

"Beautiful, inspiring, timely. Mark Yaconelli invites vulnerability by being vulnerable, courage by being courageous, tears by revealing heartfelt truths, and laughter by being damn funny."

Max Gimbel, director of The Institute for Community Building, The Ford Family Foundation

"Between the Listening and the Telling does more than tell about the goodness of stories; it shows us how our stories can make sense of difficult and joyous experiences, how stories can remove the separations between 'us' and 'them.'"

Tim Shapiro, director of The Center for Congregations


"The vignettes are in turn heartbreaking, funny, and consistently well written. The result is a moving testament to the power of confession."

Publishers Weekly

"This tender book invites us to create vulnerable and life-giving spaces in which to spill our own stories and to stumble onto each other's deepest and truest selves."

—Presbyterian Outlook