A Minister, a Psychotherapist and a Football Coach Walk into a Zoom room
By MARTIN DAVIS
What is the value of a community of writers?
During this past year of the pandemic, I have learned a great deal about such creative circles, thanks to an unusual friendship that has formed among myself and the authors of two other books in the same series as mine: Larry Buxton (30 Days with King David), and Duncan Newcomer (30 Days with Abraham Lincoln).
Front Edge Publishing Editor David Crumm brought us together. Then, over 2021, we began a dialog that has stretched far beyond the confines of the publishing house. The topics that we discuss in our weekly meetings are broad, ranging from the personal to the ethereal, from the writings and life of William Sloane Coffin to the beauty of a football playbook, and from the mythic power of biblical characters to the long shadow of Abraham Lincoln who led America’s Second Founding.
Mostly what happens is that we—admittedly three older white men who many would quickly stereotype as white, liberal cis males—grapple with the very broad gulfs that exist among us in an attempt to better understand one another.
A brief example from my perspective goes to show what we are teaching one another.
Regular readers know that I have a relationship with religion in general, and Christianity in particular, that can be generously described as troubled. Larry is a retired United Methodist minister. Over the past year, we’ve had discussions about faith that left both of us frustrated, irritated, and yes, at times, even hurt.
In our tensest moments, however, we also have come to a better understanding of our unique experiences. We have reached a point where a minister who truly believes that faith is a critical component to human life can understand how the trauma I’ve suffered in my experiences with faith has for many years made re-embracing faith impossible—while he holds onto his own faith. We both have deeper appreciations for the complex ways people wrestle with faith’s eternal, and ultimately unanswerable, issues.
Into this mix comes Duncan, a retired educator and psychotherapist who pushes me to understand the depths of my own personal struggles with religion, while appreciating the ways that coaching and working with youth has become a critical community for me that occasionally fills religious-like needs.
The results of these interactions are plentiful. The most important, I believe each of us would say, is how our friendship has helped us break down our stereotypes that we came to the table with when we first met, and allowed us to experience a fuller experience of what it is to be human through appreciating one another’s lives.
As I move into 2022, I owe a profound “thank you” to my two new, close friends Duncan and Larry.
In a world where more people than ever are writing to tell others what to think and do, I’ve had the good fortune to wrestle with two other men on a range of issues that have forced me not only to expand my ways of thinking, but have allowed me to write with a deeper knowledge of and appreciation for the people I hope to connect with.
We think this friendship is leading us toward engaging more fully with readers via words that better reflect the potential of shared community.
ARE YOU INTRIGUED by this column from Martin Davis? Right now, our publishing house is close to a nationwide launch of Martin’s book filled with uplifting stories about high school coaches and players nationwide. In his book, you will meet men and women, black and white, famous and unsung heroes alike.
His book will appear soon in our series of 30 Days With under the title: 30 Days With America’s High School Coaches.
You can follow Martin’s work through his personal website, MartinDavisAuthor.com, which describes his work as an author and editor, as well as his background as a veteran journalist for national publications.
Look around that website and sign up to receive free updates from Martin about new columns and podcasts. You’ll be glad you did!
And, Care to See One of Larry Buxton’s Short Videos on Leading with Spirit?
You’ve just “met” Larry in Martin’s column. We’re featuring one of Larry’s short videos, this week, in our Front Edge Publishing website. Please, take a moment to hear from Larry via this new video. It’s just a few minutes long—and you may want to share this message with friends, as well.
AND—if you are aware of like-minded writers who might like to connect with us, email us at [email protected]