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Barry D. Jones

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Barry D. Jones

Chair and Assistant Professor of the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership

In the Company of Kings, a Common Touch
According to Rudyard Kipling in his poem If, the mark of a man is his ability to “talk with crowds and keep your virtue,/Or walk with kings—nor lose the common touch.” Men like this have lined up in Barry Jones’s life like a chain, linking all the way back to his grandfather, who took him fishing and hunting on a farm in Mart, Texas.

“He was a giant of a man, yet very humble, tender, and approachable. He taught me,” Barry says, “and he talked to me about life and had tremendous dignity and yet tremendous humility. He could walk with kings and princes but not lose that common touch.”

Today Barry serves as chair and assistant professor of the Department of Spiritual Formation and Leadership, and is passionate about offering to others the type of mentorship and community he himself has experienced. His professional mission has a personal side: when Barry was a student at Dallas Seminary his father died of cancer, and the task of shoring up a sinking friend fell to the men in his Spiritual Formation (SF) small group.

“I had a real crisis of faith at that time,” he says. “It was that group of men that walked with me through that experience. They came alongside me and supported me in the mundane, day-to-day things. They caused me to believe in the SF group at that point.

“I’m not necessarily an extrovert,” he adds, “but I have to be in relationship with people. I’m not somebody who thrives by closing themselves off with books stacked around them. I need human interaction.”

Some of the most significant interactions Barry is having these days is with his boys—Will, 4, and Pierson, 1. For them he tries to model the same “marks of a man,” of humility and community, that his grandfather and successive mentors have modeled for him. “I look back on my life and I can see the significant mentors who have shaped me,” Barry says,  “and it has developed in me a real passion for mentoring others.”  It just so happens that the mentoring may come in the form of crying with those who weep, or in tossing sticks into a mountain stream with boys who will one day become kings, but not lose “the common touch.”