I read this the other day and just had to laugh...
In the last couple of weeks at practice I have started to call touches of Grandsire Triples. The particular touch is really quite simple — ‘in and out at one, three times’ rung from the 7. This means that you have to call bobs so that you make thirds and go into the hunt, and then call another bob at the next lead so that you come out of the hunt after just one lead; and repeat this three times, which brings the bells back into a plain course. Unlike in Plain Bob, bobs in Grandsire are called at handstroke, and in this touch that means at the handstroke of second place after leading — at which you make thirds and go into the hunt — and then at the handstroke of fifth place on the way down from the back (but really just before your own pull, because it should be timed with the pull of the bell that is in the lead) – at which you double-dodge 4-5 down to come out of the hunt. After coming out of the hunt you next dodge 6-7 down, then 6-7 up, and then next time call a bob to make thirds. Brilliant!I think it serves as a great illustration on communication. Someone can speak perfectly good English, have incredible knowledge, vast experience, and a real passion for the musical form of "bellringing"- yet because of their lingo or because they didn't know their audience, not a word of it made sense. In fact, it might just come across as a "noisy gong or a clanging symbol" (1 Corinthians 13:1). There is a danger that the messenger could share a very wonderful message and still come across as someone who doesn't have love.
I (Ross) have been doing so much more public speaking than I ever imagined I would. As much as I am enjoying it, it's a constant reminder to me of how much room for improvement I have and what a weighty responsibility it is to artfully communicate truth with people in a way that doesn't just entertain, but also brings about some sort of a response.
A real comfort for me has been the example of Peter in the bible. I think I can relate to Peter's personality a lot: he was up and down, left his career to follow Jesus, asked lots of questions, and was a friend of Jesus. One of the things Peter was not known for was being a brilliant public speaker, but I love the story in Acts 4 when that reputation changes.
Following an incredible miracle, Peter and John were thrown in prison and eventually get hauled in before the local court to explain what happened. Peter goes into a phenomenal presentation of the gospel: it's short, it gets right to the point, and it got the audience thinking.
The text goes on to say that "When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus." Peter and John were eventually released from prison after being told to not speak about Jesus again. Peter says that to not speak about what he sees Jesus doing would be impossible. Which, by the way, I believe should be one of the hallmark's of Christianity- sharing about how the God of the Universe has worked in your life in an intimate, personal way should be one of the things that sets Christians apart from everyone else. When was the last time you heard a Muslim talk about all that Allah has done for him, or a JW, or a Buddhist, or a Sikh? We should be hearing more and more people talk about Christians by saying things like "Every time I see him, he's always talking about what his 'God' has been doing...that guy never seems to run out of 'God-stories'..."
Anyways, I love the prayer of Peter and John with the other believers in Acts 4, and lately it's been my prayer too. "Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:29-30)
So that's been our prayer lately, and it's a way you could be praying for us too. Incidentally, that prayer was answered time and time again in the book of Acts, and it continues to this day. In fact, the very last words in that book say that Paul "boldly proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one tried to stop him." (Acts 28:31)
*If you're looking for a great book on communication, try Andy Stanley's "Communicating for a Change". It's written for pastors, but the material applies for anyone who speaks or carries a message.