I am in the Web Business, the Church-related Web business because of my time at United Theological Seminary in 1990-91, in Dayton , OH. I went there because of Dennis Benson, who had been a Youth Ministry Guru for me, mostly becuase I often found media studies type materials for youth in his works, and I contacted Dennis a couple of times during my Youth Ministry years. When I picked up a new book of his in a bookstore in 1989, I saw that he was in Dayton , directing a program in Religous Communication. After my son was born, I ventured up to talk to him. Soon after that, I visited a class ( I remember the year and month, because a TV in the student lounge was darwing a crowd, not becuase of the World Series game that was on, but because of what was happening at the start of that game: The Earthquake.
I ended up starting the MARC (Master of Arts in Religigous Communications) that following January 1990. My first class was a J-Term class where the class worked with Dennis to produce one of his Passages Radio Shows.
In the half dozen of Dennis’ classes that took during my course of study, I was often coming away fired up about something; a discussion that had ensued after one of Dennis’ stories (or maybe more than one). There was never a shortage of energy or depth of discussion in any of Dennis’ classes. So many of the stories came out of Dennis’ personal experiences or from stories (of which he has collected and produced I don’t know how many , over the years, through his years of experience in radio and interviewing folks (including a few rock stars like Alice Cooper). It was easy to see why people found it so easy, or were encouraged to talk about things that may have otherwise been difficult, when watching and listening to the way Dennis would listen and interject further invitations to dig deeper.
I had been telling mutual friends, and lately, emailed Dennis and told him how I thought he’d make a great blogger. Weblogs are so encouraging of “personal stories”, and enabling of quick snippets of personal insight as well as some longer personal presentations, and through this set of easy to master tools, enable us to weave a fairly personally flavored “expression” of self; one with “voice” as they put it in The Cluetrain Manifesto.
Ken Bedell ended up being my advisor in the MARC program, which , as I have written elesewhere, was certainbly in the cards, given where I ended up heading (directly toward some serious Internet -related Callings), but I am sure that also in that mix of formative experiences for my calling, the strength of story was deeply embedded in me by my contact with Dennis Benson.
He started a blog today, here
I’d suggest subscribing to to the RSS and watch what happens. I don’t expect him to dwell long in the land of blogs before he begins to discover the wonders of story sharing in this rapidly growing land of Weblogs.