“To love is not to wish one another well, but to carry one another’s burdens–that is, things that are grievous to us, and that we would not willingly bear. Therefore Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones …..
The subtitle of this book is: How to ask better questions, Get better answers and Interview anyone lie a pro. At this point you may be wondering, “why is Joan reviewing this book for the blog?” Stay tuned while I explain, as there are several reasons.
My job on our Fanning the Flame team is Spiritual Gifts Coordinator. That means I “interview” our members about their spiritual gifts, passions and hobbies. All of this information is then recorded in a database for use by the Pastor, church leaders and committees so that people are able to use their abilities in ministry. I actually wish I had come across this book earlier in the process. Although Dean Nelson is a journalist, and that is his focus, it is chock full of useful information including:
- How to get people to talk to you in the first place
- How to make people comfortable during the interview
- How to prepare for an interview
- How to take notes
- How to interview people you like and people you don’t like
Above all, he encourages interviews to know and remember the why of a particular interview, and to stay focused. Here’s an important quote:
“Keep in mind that you’re interviewing the person to reveal what the person is about and to get information about a particular topic. You want their perspective, their insight, their unique point of view, their anecdotes, their expertise their wisdom, their personality, their ability to point you to a greater understanding. So get out of the way, and let the person talk to you.”
He makes the point, and it’s a good one, that we all interview others every day.
One of the things I’ve learned from the Fanning the Flame process is to take advantage of secular wisdom when it’s appropriate, and this is a good example. It’s also Biblical. Remember the parable of the shrewd manager?
“For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.”
The shrewd manager was commended for his diligence and cleverness in dealing with a problem. As Christians, we can also use worldly knowledge for heavenly purposes, when it’s appropriate. Our Fanning the Flame coach has recommended other secular books, and maybe he’ll add this one to the list.
I can even make a case for fitting Talk to Me into our monthly theme, since we are instructed to “speak with one another.” That speaking should be without letting our ego get in the way (as Dean Nelson recommends) and with an earnest desire to know and to understand a brother or sister in Christ.
VERDICT: I give this book five stars. If you are involved in interviewing others in any way, you’ll find it quite readable and a good resource!
“Nothing can be more cruel than the leniency which abandons others to their sin. Nothing can be more compassionate than the severe reprimand which calls another Christian in one’s community back from the path of sin.”
“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him; whoever loves God must also love his brother.” 1 John 4:20
The quote below by Elizabeth Charles was included in my devotional reading. Elizabeth was an Anglican author. Her works include The Voice of Christian Life in Song; or, Hymns and Hymn-writers of Many Lands and Ages (1859), The Three Wakings, and Other Poems (1859), Wanderings over Bible Lands and Seas (1862), The Early Dawn (1864), Winifred Bertram and the World She Lived In (1866), Poems (1867), The Draytons and the Davenants (1867), Songs Old and New (1882), and Conquering and to Conquer/The Diary of Brother Bartholomew. Our Seven Homes (1896) is autobiographical. A number of her hymns appeared in The Family Treasury, edited by William Argnot(1808–1875).
“It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart warm for our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira. To love the whole church is one thing; to love–that is, to delight in the graces and veil the defects–of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans yesterday, whose peculiar infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings, or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character most revolts, is quite another.”
Can you love all Christian brothers and sisters, near and far?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
When I read these verses from the book of Acts, the negro spiritual, Let Us Break Bread Together comes immediately to my mind. The church is a family, and we should spend time worshipping, praising, praying, celebrating the sacraments, and sharing with one another. Every day is a chance to be together with other brothers and sisters in Christ. Are you making the most of that opportunity?
The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. Matthew 28:5-7
Even though there is not a verse that specifically says, “tell one another” I believe it’s something we need to do; not just on Easter morning, but every day. Martin Luther said:
“We need to hear the gospel every day because we forget it every day.”
Maybe this falls under the admonishment to “instruct one another.” We Christians need to constantly hear the Gospel — Jesus Christ, died and risen for us. So greet one another this morning with the Easter greeting: “He is risen. He is risen indeed.”
If you belong to a liturgical church, you’re led through the important days and seasons of the church year with songs that become both familiar and beloved. It’s Good Friday, so I can’t keep myself from posting this hymn, which my granddaughter says is one of her favorites. It’s an American spiritual that was first printed in 1899. It was most likely composed by African-American slaves. The title is “Were You There?” Put yourself in the scene of the crucifixion, and meditate on the fact that Christ died for you.
On the night on which he was betrayed, our Lord knew he would die the next day. He knew that before that happened he would be betrayed (and by whom) and denied (and by whom). He knew he would be abandoned, mocked, scorned, slapped, punched, and scourged. He knew he who was sinless would take on himself all the sins of all of us.
How would you spend your last night if you knew it would be your last night? He chose to wash the feet of his disciples. He gave bread and wine, his body and blood, and forgiveness. He gave the promise of a Comforter, the Holy Spirit. He gave a command to love one another.
Holy communion always brings us close to Christ, but never closer than on Maundy Thursday, when we are aware of that night and what he did and what he said and what he faced for us. It was profound sorrow and pure joy to be in his presence on this night of all nights.
When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.“You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. John 13:12-17
“… being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 4:8