Ahhhhh the challenge of who to invite for dinner.
Not long ago I set myself the task of choosing four guests that I would invite for dinner. You might be familiar with the notion. Whether you are or not, here’s my approach to the scenario. So I can choose any four people whether they are alive now or if they have lived at some other time in history.
It’s also worth talking about the concept of the dinner. There are few things that are set up as beautifully as a meal for conversation and exchange of life. In the right setting, the culinary delight is a precursor to an amazing consumption of delicious food for thought. Hours can be spent conversing on various issues of life and it can be stirring, uplifting, tragic, hilarious and genuinely life-transforming. All around the beauty of the meal with folks who know how to converse.
The thing about these selections is that they are very much in and of the moment. The four I choose today are not guaranteed to be the four that I would choose tomorrow, or next week or yesterday or last month.
Without further blarney, though, let me introduce the first guest who would arrive at the dinner. (By the way the order is not about importance, it’s about the order in which I imagine they would show up.)
Ritson Shields: What do you mean you don’t know him? How can you not know him? He’s one of the most important people in my life, how can you not know him? There was the strong element to just select famous people of today and history to attend. Yet for a meal to be a success it makes sense to me to involve someone I know and who I trust. Ritson is my mentor who has been supporting my development from boy to man to husband to father for over 20 years. He’s at the meal, though, because when I’m around him I know he can stimulate a fascinating conversation.
He knows how to ask the right questions and he knows how to let a conversation just breathe naturally. There’s never a sense or insistence that things must be said. Silence can work in the conversation just as well as verbalised comment. I would want Ritson to be a part of the meal because unlike a number of other Christians I know, I don’t think he’d have a problem engaging with conversation beyond churchianity. He would be just as comfortable chucking in a few quips about sport, comedy, politics, fashion and cooking as he would about faith, Jesus, the Bible and church.
Therein lies another reason why I would invite Ritson. The quips. Humour in conversation is so important. The four people that I’ve invited all share a great sense of humour and three of them know how not to go over the top with it. Ritson can insert a cautionary word of wisdom for contemplation and before long slip in a quip that will get the sides splitting. I have a lot of time for the guy, that’s why he would be invited and I know he would be the first person to show up.
So who would come in after him?
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden