Expounding conversationalists in the pulpit?
I realise that as she gives a post-mortem on her (? blind) date, the subject of this cartoon from a recent New Yorker (I love the mag, but just wish there were more hours in the day to read it!!) isn’t necessarily referring to a preacher, but she might as well be.
The bottom line, of course, is that while such a thing is not that appropriate at a restaurant table, preachers really ought to be expounders in the pulpit. It’s not their word they’re communicating, after all. There must be something of the ambassadorial herald about all of us. But this little number got me thinking about whether or not we would be better communicators if were just that little bit conversationalist as well… And I don’t mean in terms of rhetorical style. I mean in terms of being able to relate truth right across the fields and unnatural boundaries of life and knowledge.
A conversationalist has something to say/contribute/question about everything: not in a know-it-all sense (that person is no conversationalist – he or she’s a bore) but in the genuinely searching and curious sense. A great conversationalist is interesting precisely because he or she is interested. Too few preachers have a well-developed sense of curiosity (whether about the Bible or the world), and their preaching is all the poorer for it.