I have noted with many of you before the difference between people who “think to talk” and those who “talk to think.”
Think to talkers ponder, meditate, and plan what they are going to say before they ever say it.
Talk to thinkers process their thoughts verbally. They are the kind of folks who will talk for five or ten minutes and then declare, “and THAT’S what I’ve been trying to say all along!”
On that continuum, I am an off the charts think to talker. It’s why I’m pretty good with a planned presentation — say, a sermon — and struggle with off-the-cuff dialog — for example, a public debate.
And yet yesterday, I was thrown into a situation in which by necessity I had to talk to think.
Well, the good folks at Abingdon Press had arranged an on air interview for me with syndicated radio host Bob Dutko, a faith-based personality broadcasting from Detroit. The interview was in support of the book The Shadow Of A Doubt.
I quickly discovered that a live radio interview best suits people who talk to think — and therefore, I had to change my modus operandi on the fly. Something I’m rarely able to do. So what happened?
1. Three minutes before the segment is slated to begin, the show’s producer calls me up. In a very pleasant voice, she tells me to wait on the line and Bob will be on momentarily. She also tells me that he has spent the majority of the morning talking about ISIS and the Paris attacks. I die a little inside, fearful he is going to ask me questions about my view on American foreign policy, the rise of Islamic terrorism, or what I think of Mika Brzezinski’s hair.
2. At the exact right time, Bob gets on the line and we are on the air. He pronounces my name correctly (sigh of relief). He gets the name of the church, the book, and the publisher right (bigger sigh). He immediately begins to ask me about the dichotomy of faith and doubt and not about the differences between Sunnis and Shiites (biggest sigh).
3. Early on in the interview, I blurt out a line I remember from the book: ‘Not many people doubt that God is great but a lot of them aren’t quite sure that he is good.’ Which is a good line in the context of where I said it in the original sermon and where it’s located in the book, but not such a good line in the interview. Why not? I don’t have anything well prepared to say in follow up. Which doesn’t deter Bob, because he likes that line and continues to ask me about it. I fumble around and am grateful for the first commercial break.
4. By the way, throughout I am mindful of speaking through my diaphragm and not through my throat so my voice sounds like Chuck Swindoll and doesn’t sound like Really High Voice Peyton Manning.
5. Towards the end — after two commercial breaks — I recover some of my mojo and begin to remember some of the book’s strongest parts and some of my own best lines. I even worked this one in: in response to Bob’s question about whether or not we’re allowed to get mad at God I answered, “You know what God does with people who get mad at him? He puts them in the bible. Read the Psalms. It’s full of people shaking their fists in anger at God. Because shaking a fist in anger is really just a prelude to raising a hand in praise.” Hey! That one will preach! Let me think about it for awhile . . .