Becoming an Explorer: An Airplane Conversation with Keith Davy

Keith Davy with Evangeline Vergo

Keith Davy is the national director of research and development for Campus Ministry. He is the author of CoJourners.

It is role of an explorer to discover who people are and what their story is.

Here is an example: I sat next to Robert on a flight.

What do you know about Robert spiritually? You probably answered, 'nothing.' But there is one thing you do know: He is on a spiritual journey.

Let me give you another clue. He's French -- a French dentist, as a matter of fact. Now what do you think? Is he spiritually near or spiritually far?

More clues: he considers himself a French humanist. Humanism is a man-centered worldview and not the path you normally think of as leading to Christ. So he is probably spiritually far, right?

I continued to ask Robert questions and learn more about him. I discovered that he considered the church in his own country as irrelevant to the needs of society - not a good sign. He is sounding more and more distant.

But when Robert discovered my interest in spiritual matters, he revealed that he had tried to buy a Bible in a U.S. bookstore. After showing him a brief explanation of the gospel, he responded that he didn't know if it was true or not, but he hoped his children would decide it was.

I asked him why and found out that Robert thought that if his children believed it was true, they would experience a better life than if they didn't.

Robert was spiritually open after all!

Notice how your view of Robert changed with each piece of new information - initially assuming him to be spiritually distant, perhaps resistant because of his worldview, only to discover genuine openness.

That is what happens when we explore the lives of others: our assumptions are overturned as we gain insights into their stories. You can't guess where people are spiritually, you have to explore.

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