When speakers should be listeners

Of course the word should be “converse”, and I have slipped briefly under the spell of The Apprentice’s Melissa Cohen with her unusual brand of English. The trouble is, some preachers have as much difficulty with conversing about preaching as others would with spelling it. We are so accustomed to being listened to that we have lost the rules of engagement when it comes to genuine conversation.

Earlier this week @overcommunicate drew my attention to this with a post regarding conversations about worship. As that posts points out, a perfectly reasonable discussion about the way worship is led can be ruined by some bright spark saying “I think the Holy Spirit should lead it”.

The same thing often happens with conversations about preaching. A discussion on styles of presentation or techniques of preparation is utterly short-circuited by somebody entering the conversational arena in shining spiritual armour with the words “I think the main thing is to let God speak through you”.  Of course that is what we all want. Training as a preacher and studying different techniques of preaching are all about giving God the best possible raw material with which he can work. Not only that, but they help to heighten our awareness of those areas where our personality both enhances and inhibits that process.

One of Melissa’s other malapropisms on the Apprentice was “manouevrement”. It appeared to be some kind of conflation between ‘manouevre’ and ‘movement’. I’m not sure about the English, but when it comes to conversations about spiritual things we could all do with some room for manouevrement.

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