Paul Walsh at Etribes Mashup (Photo credit: Route79)
A bit ago at work I had to deal with someone who really didn’t want me to be at work. It’s not the first time; the job was essentially:
I spent half an hour talking to some guy (let me called him Paul) about a job he’s been doing for ten years.
I spent half an hour reading a document Paul spent six months developing.
I wrote a report telling Paul’s bosses all the things he could, nay, should be doing better. Because I’m an expert. Thank you.
Paul absolutely lost it.
So, we had a pleasant meeting about it. And Paul responded to literally every point I made with ‘Yes, well, but, equally…’ before going on to point out some reason why he shouldn’t do what I’d recommended. Now, I’m not saying he was never right (he obviously knew a lot more about his job than I did), but there came a point where I realised that he wasn’t disagreeing with me because knew more than I did, or misunderstood what I was getting at; he was disagreeing with me simply because I was encouraging him to change.
After thinking about that little exchange I made a little resolution: if anyone, in any context, makes some criticism of me, whether it’s about my work, or my character, or anything, I don’t want to be like Paul. I want to be someone who humbly apologises where necessary, throws out the harmful criticism and takes on board everything that might make me a better person.
Just something to get the ol’ brain working at the start of the week…
A friend of mine posted something on Facebook last week:
I can play guitar!
After thinking, ‘well done you,’ my mind immediately went something along the following lines:
What do you mean? Are you celebrating the fact that you have the physical ability to lift a guitar and hit the strings to create noise? Or have you learnt every finger combination possible and could theoretically play any song every written?
Or somewhere inbetween those two?
Obviously, playing the guitar is a bit too qualitative; it’s far easier to measure when someone has learnt to ‘count to ten’…or is that just memorisation? I’ve not discussed with her exactly what she meant, but I expect she was trying to publicly celebrate the fact that she has learnt a few basic chord shapes and strumming patterns, and can play Oasis’s Wonderwall or something. And well done to her for that achievement.
But I can’t help asking: At what point should we objectively measure that someone has moved from a position of not being able to play the guitar to having that ability?
Or is it something more ingrained than that? In other words, can some people play guitar and just need a guiding hand, while others simply can’t?
A lot of research has been done around the fact that the best way to get most people to learn something is through storytelling. This book proposes a programme of ‘Bible storying’ to enable effective discipleship.
It’s really convincing, and I am now acutely aware of how little people remember of what they’re taught. It’s also well written when you take into account its dual authorship.
I want to underline that I think this is a good and useful book, but I’m not sure it quite hits the bullseye for me. After reading it I’m really aware that my natural teaching style is ineffective, but I don’t know how to make it better! This is particularly difficult when it comes to studying a Bible text which itself isn’t a story. To my mind the book would have benefited from an example study.
Ironically, my single biggest issue with this book is that it isn’t written in the style that it’s preaching about!
Overall, I think this book is a really, really good first step. If you’re not sure about preaching styles, let this convince you…but don’t expect this to be a ‘how to’ guide to telling stories.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”