Last week I wrote this post soliciting thoughts on communicators of various stripes that persons would like to have lunch with to get perspective on the craft. Ok, so only my brother responded to this one… but I did like his thoughts. Anywho, here are some of mine, in no particular order and with an interest in a diversity of mediums and genres. Plenty of dead people I’d love to have lunch with, but they’re not on this list.
- The people behind the Mac vs PC ads. I can’t think of anyone following the “show, don’t tell” principle of storytelling better than this.
- Bill Simmons, aka ESPN’s “The Sports Guy.” Witty columnist for ESPN. Fun theories, pop culture references, and good knowledge of sports makes him interesting and fun to read.
- Rob Bell, teaching pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Makes biblical and theological nerdiness cool. A younger voice with something worth saying who says it passionately and well.
- Barack Obama. 2008 Democratic presidential nominee. A predictable choice, to be sure, but still a good one.
- Bono. Lead singer of U2, activist. Drips with authenticity-as-a-spiritual-seeker cred and wails lyrics that give voice to a generation. Magnetic presence. Also, a long-time favorite of mine as a poetic lyricist and wonderful musician would be Emily Saliers of the Indigo Girls.
- Kirbyjon Caldwell. Pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, spiritual entrepenuer. I’ve heard him preach at my Methodist Conference and he is electric.
- John Grisham. Author. Something to be said for learning from storytellers that a broad public has embraced and loves to read. Stephen King would be another in this category and I heartily recommend his memoir On Writing, which shares both his personal history practicing the craft as well as his instructions on how to write, as the title promises.
- Philip Yancey. Evangelical author, Christianity Today columnist. A wonderful guide for every subject on which I’ve read him. Honesty and humility in his search not to verify what he already believes, but to search for the truth of God.
- Will Willimon. United Methodist Bishop in Alabama, scholar, writer. Long-time respected and provocative preacher-theologian among United Methodists.
- J.K. Rowling. Author. Got millions of people to read long books in a rapidly digitizing culture–impressive. Effectively constructed a narrative world that folks would love to inhabit. Kind of what preaching the gospel should do.
- Bart Ehrman. New Testament & Early Christianity scholar, professor at the University of North Carolina. An unorthodox pick, perhaps, considering that Ehrman lost his Christian faith in the process of becoming a scholar (thus confirming fears of persons weary of anyone studying Scripture and theology academically), he publishes like crazy and mostly contra-orthodox Christian positions on biblical studies. However, I also know him as a lecturer (have several of his courses) for The Teaching Company and as such, he is a fantastic lecturer. Though I come down on the side of orthodox Christian faith and theology, he would still be well worth the time for a communicator lunch. On the more orthodox side of things, Luke Timothy Johnson of the religious studies faculty at Emory University and a contributor to The Teaching Company who I enjoy immensely would be another such pick.
- Colin Cowherd. Host of “The Herd” on ESPN radio. Colin is like a frat guy who’s pretty funny and interesting and the longer you listen to him the more you realize that he’s actually got a pretty good handle of what he’s doing (talk radio) and what he’s talking about (sports and the experience of the average fan “who has a life”). Talk radio is communication that generates a community–no, not intimate community, but community just the same–listeners and callers.
Alright, if you’re now ready to weigh in with some of your picks or comments on mine, I’m still interested…