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Memoirs of How it All Began

A Performance Interpretation of the Gospel of Luke

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What did Jesus' followers do after he was no longer present? In this uniquely improvisational (and interactive) volume, Luke steps out of the familiar text of Acts to communicate directly with Theophilus his companion—and with us—as if we are meeting Jesus for the first time.

What was it that drew everyone to Jesus in the first place? Luke arranges a revised script that brings the characters to life as actors, and calls us into performance alongside them. In such an imaginative world, there is no predetermined outcome of the story. Instead we find ourselves in a “what-if” restaging of Jesus’ life and the responses of his followers.

This is a fresh way of presenting the Bible, a method based on a rapidly growing movement in college and university classrooms called reacting. Nonetheless, it is in line with more traditional ways of understanding Scripture as performed in the context of liturgy.

Within Memoirs of How It All Began, there are six different gaming applications intended to bring our generation into Luke’s world—or Luke into our world. At the same time, this book challenges the individual reader with creative poems and illustrations and a built-in system of interpretative questions for daily readings.

You've never engaged a book on Scripture like this. For a reality-bending deep-dive into the world of Jesus' earliest followers, experience Memoirs of How it All Began for yourself! 

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Praise for Memoirs of How It All Began

“Long entombed within the amber prose of King James scholars, Luke the Evangelist here emerges as a deeply human teacher, by turns poetic and even puzzled, yet always profound. Mark Whitters, a superb scholar and perceptive humanist, has found new words and a new way to lead us to a deeper understanding of the words and the way of Jesus of Nazareth.”
Mark C. Carnes, Barnard College, Columbia University

“In Memoirs of How It All Began, Whitters bridges the yawning gap between scholarship and everyday life and between divine revelation in Scripture and subjective spirituality. Like a skilled movie producer, Whitters takes the old written movie about Jesus’ life first produced by the Evangelist Luke and remakes it for a contemporary audience. Beyond vividly portraying Christ crucified before their eyes, Whitters compels the audience to enter the Lukan story as performers and to react to the dramatic characters and unfolding events. This prequel to Whitters’ Memoirs of an Unfinished Tale is sure to capture the attention of modern audiences, and I give it two-thumbs up!”
Troy W. Martin, Saint Xavier University

Memoirs of How It All Began will immerse readers of the Gospel of Luke in a creative experience of the text. While remaining rooted in excellent scholarship, it acts as a bridge between ‘then’ and ‘now,’ offering a new and rewarding way into the Gospel. Highly recommended, especially for study groups!”
Leslie Baynes, Missouri State University

“Most believers recognize their need for help with reading Scripture, yet the commentaries they read leave them more confused than before. In Memoirs of How It All Began, Whitters takes the Gospel of Luke and recasts it as a holy play. Where you and I see disconnected tales, Whitters see paragraphs in a story and the plot of a spiritual mystery. He invites us to participate in the production of the true story of the God who became Man. As we participate as performers, that story becomes real in our lives. I wholeheartedly recommend Memoirs of How It All Began for individuals or groups.”
Samuel C. Williamson, Founding Director, Beliefs of the Heart

“Picture, if you will, that Luke took pen in hand for a third rendering of the drama of Jesus intervening in the course of human history and God’s Spirit animating the simple people of field, village, and religious center. Dr. Mark Whitters takes pen in hand and deftly portrays the layers of paradox (and pun) as God turns the world on its head in showering light, mercy, and peace on common people in a way that would pale the efforts of the religious and political powers of that day. Something God continues doing to this very day! Come discover your part in this ‘drama’ of renewal and redemption!”
Bob and Deb Clark, Faculty Ministry, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Madison, WI

Memoirs of How It All Began is a captivating account of the Gospel of Luke. Whitters provides the requisite background that illuminates the Gospel. I found the background and the footnotes to be very helpful in setting the context for my study of Luke. The questions that he crafts tease out applications of Luke’s Gospel for us in our busy lives. In Memoirs of How It All Began, Jesus is the performer and he invites the disciples and us (Theophilus included) into his performance! What a great invitation!”
Anthony M. Musumba, University of Mary

About the Authors

Mark F. Whitters is a senior lecturer with a post in Jewish Studies in the Department of History & Philosophy at Eastern Michigan University. He is a member of an ecumenical brotherhood called Servants of the Word that has done urban outreach in the city of Detroit, where he has lived for the past seventeen years. He is author and editor of several books and more than twenty articles.

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