CBP: To start, please tell us your faith ...
Jedd & Erik: We both grew
up among family and friends for whom Christianity was more than just religion.
It was a vibrant and life-shaping confidence in Jesus. It was in college and
later, though, that we would say we made our faith our own. When you encounter
the deep questions and ragged edges of life that tidy formulas don't resolve,
you can either abandon your childhood faith, or else engage it as never before.
By God's grace, and aided by some tremendous friends and mentors, we chose the
latter. Over the years since then, one of the biggest ongoing challenges has
been to connect our faith with the ordinary tasks, tangles and joys of daily
life. In many ways, this book is part of that desire to live out abstract,
spiritual Truth amidst everyday choices and interactions.
CBP: How do communicators fail in terms of communicating like Christ?
Jedd & Erik: Of course, we all have areas of communication that need growth. In comparing our own communication to that of Jesus, one thing that's recently struck us is his deep attentiveness. He noticed the discarded and ignored, and lavished them with an attention that bestowed deep dignity and value. Adulterous women. Crafty tax collectors. Mothers toting small children. Often, we are so consumed with our own activities and thoughts that even when we do stop to listen to someone, our minds are a half a world away. As in the account of the bleeding woman in Luke 8, Jesus had a way of pushing back crowds, noise, and urgency to give the person before him his total attention-ears, eyes, and heart. If we are to be his apprentices, we must learn to do so as well.
CBP: You emphasize a great deal about Christ's character in His dealings with others. How did His character impact His communication?
Jedd & Erik: The heart of effective communication is not techniques or proficiencies. It is a way of living, a life orientated toward serving others through our words and interactions. Jesus came "not to be served but to serve." This focus shaped Jesus' approach to communication. If following Jesus' lead, we will make similar communication choices: meeting others on their turf and in their terms, asking questions, offering ourselves with transparency, and the like. Over time, these choices become habits and, ultimately, character.
CBP: You don't offer a quick fix to communication. Where would you suggest that someone begin?
Jedd & Erik: More important than anything is intimacy with Jesus. A branch connected to the true Vine can't help producing good fruit-in actions, speech, and everything else. In one sense, this fruit grows from a mysterious, spiritual union. But in another, it is not mysterious at all. It is a matter of, as the book of Hebrews urges, actively considering how we can spur each other on to love and good works. The Revolutionary Communicator is a practical outworking of that process. By examining how we can become more like Jesus as communicators, we increasingly are able to love and serve others effectively through our communication.
CBP: You emphasize Christ's respect for the people He dealt with. Why is respect of the audience so important?
Jedd & Erik: When focused on style and techniques, communication becomes little more than manipulation. The speaker's push toward certain goals supercedes a listener's dignity and his or her responsibility to decide freely. Jesus' approach was opposite. Despite his clear purpose, he never sought to manipulate or coerce. Rather, he asked questions, told stories, and communicated in a way that ultimately required listeners to think and then choose for themselves. This type of influence does not produce the quickest response or guaranteed results, but it is the only kind that lasts.