In this podcast episode, you will be opened – both heart and mind. I think you will also feel the concepts expressed by Deacon Richard Manley-Tannis, through his loving choice of words, in your body. What unfolds is that it's the intimate conversation you have with another that potentially changes you and the other, thereby strengthening humanity's collective capacity to bring about personal and social change and even transformation.
Social Media – a Space for Intimate Conversation
Richard and I first connected over Twitter several years ago discovering our shared interest in Appreciative Inquiry. As a fun opening, we exchange our own stories of how we found each other. Richard has been playing professionally online and active on Social Media since very early days. Since 2013, he has held the position of Minister for Evangelism, Mission & Church Development, for the Winnipeg Presbytery, and, one of the many hats he dons in that capacity is to train lay teams about social media and evangelism with an Appreciative Inquiry lens. Specifically, how the digital process can richly inform the relational process by connecting people, and strengthening collective energy for meaning making at many levels – such as in the realms of finance, education, politics, ideology, social change and more. He shares stories of how care and compassion have been deeply felt by people who have only ever met online.
Stories are Foundational to Intimate Conversation
Richard's blog, A Deacon's Musing, is dense with valuable content – stories and findings from his research, fiction, poetry and images. He's been doing this for over 10 years. Richard undertakes in depth exploration of a vast range of topics that reflect his post modernist Christian lens.
During the show, I invite Richard to expand on a number of his posts. The language invites exploration and curiosity. He seeks to build generativity so that his readers grow after musing, reflecting and taking a step further: take action. He writes:
I celebrate that all human truths fail to fully appreciate a universe & reality that cannot confine the Holy. In A Deacon’s Musing, I meander & ruminates, reflect & challenge. Hopefully some of it makes sense & I invite you to ask questions, push me to clarify & listen with intention.
Paradoxically, Intimate Conversation is more Prevalent in the Secular Context than Christian Institutions.
At the time of our interview, Richard had just submitted the first draft of his PhD dissertation which he is doing with the Taos Institute and Tillburg University. When I asked about high points from his research findings, he shared that in the secular world he experiences far greater openness and willingness to share personal stories and intimacies. His experience of practices such as Narrative Therapy and Appreciative Inquiry open people up to sacred conversations more than the traditional modernist practices of Christianity.
You will be opened up to the irony and paradox of Richard's findings: deep, rich and generative conversations are not happening, as they might, in the Christian institutions whose mission is to spread the very values that are not always experienced in the day to day conversations among clergy and their parishioners. What Richard seeks to do in his role through his social constructionist orientation and his post-modernist Christian lens is to bring such potentialities and energies to those who want to change the world.
My interview with Deacon Richard Manley-Tannis was a joy to produce, and I wish you much joy in listening.
How to Connect to Richard
Richard's Blog: A Deacon's Musing
Richard on Twitter
Richard on LinkedIn
Richard on Google+
Richard on Facebook
Samples of Richard Writings
Let's Stay Connected
It's always great to hear from you. Please connect with me to ask questions or leave comments about this episode or the podcast in general, and there are several good ways to do this:
- Share your questions and ideas on the Podcast Feedback page
- Leave a voice message here, and we may feature your question on an upcoming episode
- Leave a comment on the show notes below