Archive for February, 2007

Made to Stick

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

Chip and Dan Heath are making interview/talk show rounds, being quoted in major print media, and swirling through great clouds of blogosphere talking about their book: Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die.

Ideas, business concepts, philosophies that make an impression, that grab hold and hang on are said to be “sticky.” (I guess ideas that don’t stick are “slippery” — too slick, too polished, too smooth to hang in, they slide right off whatever they touch– or simply “tacky” — just sticky enough to cling briefly and unpleasantly to your fingers before falling away and sticking briefly to something or somebody else.)

I’m drawn to the generic notion of “stickiness” in life. In people, for instance. My parents and grandparents were all “sticky;” they held family together despite forces, events, and even family members that tended to pull apart. The love of God is ultimately “sticky.”  Wherever I go, the Hound of Heaven follows hard on my heels, sticking to me, telling me:

All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home.
Rise, clasp My hand, and come.

But the Heath brothers’ focus is on sticky ideas and what makes them so long-lasting. The attribute list for “sticky” ideas is (of course) an acronym for SUCCES: (S)imple, (U)nexpected, (C)oncrete, (C)redible, (E)motional, and bound up with a (S)tory.

I can’t think of a sticky idea that exemplifies those characteristics better than the “kingdom of God” announced in the New Testament. The kingdom of God is:

  • Simple – it’s a domain where Jesus Christ rules. No president/prime minister or parliament/congress/house of talking heads. Just Jesus.
  • Unexpected – “My kingdom is not of this world,” Jesus said. “If it were, my servants would fight …” (John 18:36). Not of this world? What?
    “Do not resist an evil person … love your enemies… (Matthew 5:38, 43) WHAT??
  • Concrete – “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry…look after orphans and widows in their distress and … keep oneself from being polluted … don’t show favoritism … speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom …” (from James 1 and 2)
  • Credible -The King is, after all, “Mighty God and Everlasting Father.” (Isaiah 9:6) Hard to get more credible than that.
  • Emotional – Kingdom subects are a people of love.  “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind…and … love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22-37-39)
  • Story – “Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did … through him …This man was handed over … by God’s set purpose and foreknowledge; and put … to death by nailing … to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.” (Acts 2:22-24) Even Hollywood called it “The Greatest Story Ever Told.”

But the basic reason for the “stickiness” of the Kingdom is the faithfulness of God, “the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17).
[tags]sticky ideas, kingdom of God, faithfulness[/tags]

It’s All About God

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

If working at it is not the way to become the “living expression of God’s kindness,” then what is? Check out this parable of the Vine (by Bill McCracken and Toni Proudfoot), where we are branches grafted into Christ — the Vine:

Only one thing is necessary,” said the Vine, “abide in Me. Let Me be your peace and joy. What matters most is the time shared between us.”

“You see,” continued the Vine, “it is no longer a question of what you can do, but of whether or not you will let Me to do it through you. My love for you has healed your deepest hurt. I am all you need. You now live so that we might fill the needs of others. Our union will do this. My fruit in you will bring praise to our Keeper, the Father. All you need to do is to be ready and willing to bear the fruit.”

There it is. Grapes grow on grapevines; as long as we abide in the Vine — spending time with Jesus, studying His words, enjoying His presence — fruit of the Vine is the inevitable result.

[tags]kindness,spiritual fruit,the Vine[/tags]