It was really good to meet the Bishop of Leeds, Nick Baines yesterday. He was very welcoming and gracious and we spent a good hour talking about creative communication of the Christian faith. He is a gifted and seasoned broadcaster and his thoughts and pauses are often to be heard on Radio 4 and Radio 2.
I was delighted that Bishop Nick was willing to be photographed receiving a copy of my new book The Spy, the Rat and the Bed of Nails: Creative Ways of Talking about Christian Faith. Colleagues at Thinking Faith have informed me that my handsome good looks have faded in my twilight years. It is a painful and disturbing reality.
Bishop Nick asked me about my background and I told him about growing up in sunny, sophisticated Hertfordshire and how I became a Christian at university while studying Philosophy. He then asked me about storytelling and I explained how RealityBites works. Tell stories and ask questions. Get people thinking about worldviews and hidden belief systems. Bishop Nick agreed with me that storytelling is a vital skill in talking meaningfully and relevantly about the Christian faith. Without doubt he is an excellent communicator and his broadcasts are peppered with vignettes, humour and universal, cultural reference points.
We also talked about football and the bishop was visibly relieved when I admitted that I do not support Manchester United. He is a keen Liverpool supporter. I did not mention that I have a soft spot for Bristol Rovers!
We then had an absorbing conversation that touched on militant secularism, Brian Cox, Brexit and his work as a bishop. He is passionate about equipping confident clergy to enable confident Christians to live and tell the good news of the Christian faith. In the final moments of our conversation the bishop promised me that he would read my book and I then gave him a leaflet about some of the RealityBites sermons, workshops and courses that we provide.
It's not everyday that you have the opportunity to tell a bishop all about your new book on creative, storytelling evangelism. Thank you so much Bishop Nick for your time, your kindness and the photo opportunity.