Conversation is an art. Many experience serial monologues masquerading as conversation. One of the distinctions may be discovered in the preposition. Rarely does a person walk away satisfied they have been heard if the conversation is described as having talked to or at.
The monological malady appears even in purported conversations had by pastors, by ministers.
Relational posture shifts with a better preposition. Equipped with his laptop and books, Dr. Rick Davis frequents his favorite coffee shop. His habit derives from a longstanding interest in what it means to be with people, even for people. Conversations over time develop an authenticity and sincerity not achieved when the reflection includes only, “and I talked to a millennial today.”
Declaring a generation what they are before we have had time to see what they will be seems misguided, at least to Rick. Maybe he has in mind the way certain designations, labels, shut down possibility and become more about controlling the conversation. The risk is that we do not speak . . .
Intelligibly and Intelligently
Like learning a different language, Dr. Davis contends talking with affords a person the occasion to become conversant. The lack of familiarity with how a new generation views the world presents problems. Rick contends the great need is for intelligibility and intelligence. Here he sounds the same note Jason Micheli recently played when he pointed to the loss of the intellectual history of the Church.
Rick tells the story behind his insistence that young pastors, if not everyone, would be helped with a course in logic. He once called and asked with exasperation, “Why do Christian colleges and seminaries not require a course in logic before graduation?” A recent column suggests learning philosophy would help even those much younger.
Today’s podcast guest is Dr. Rick Davis. Nearly 30 years ago I began my first vocational position in ministry. Dr. Davis was the pastor. Our first encounter outside of a morning and evening service was over lunch at Chili’s. He talked with us. We began attending the church he pastored and later were invited to serve as Associate Pastor/Youth Minister.
Dr. Davis served Baptist churches for forty years before being taken in by Methodists in Texas. He and Joan are the parents of four grown children. They just celebrated the addition of their eighth, a granddaughter. No matter where he has served he has made it a point to encourage and mentor younger folks in a variety of arenas, not just in ministry.
To this day Dr. Davis is a mentor and friend.
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