Posts Tagged ‘eternity’

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]

All That Glitters…

Friday, July 7th, 2006

“We had realized the American Dream and were living a very expensive lifestyle, where it is difficult to turn off the spigot.”
– Kenneth Lay (1942-2006)

The spigot was shut off on July 5. Life, no matter how full of accomplishments or adorned with beauty, is ultimately futile and disappointing unless it is God-focused. The tragic death of Ken Lay–once highly respected, now disgraced–and widowing of his wife Linda–once ensconced in luxury, now bereft of lavish lifestyle and life companion–reminded me of a verse (The Perfect Couple) I wrote some time ago…

Careful attention to every detail marks him as a meticulous man.
From precision in slitting open his mail to eclat even opening a can.
Every hair smartly styled, every muscle controlled,
Shoes gleaming like bright mirrored tables;
His immaculate shell neatly houses a soul mired deep in muck from the stables.

Perky, pert, professional–the blending of two worlds.
She does it all and does it well, from charts to stylish curls.
Her softly tailored slate-grey suit
Accents her light grey eyes;
Her poised perfection’s absolute–and every day she dies.

What you see ain’t always what you get. Dr. Lay’s obituary reports that the bereaved family takes “comfort in the knowledge that he is in the loving presence of the one true Judge.” Attorneys argue that Lay’s death will wipe out his criminal conviction on conspiracy and fraud charges. Former Enron employees and shareholders voice strong opinions about his death, some even suggesting that the whole thing is a dark conspiracy to help the “deceased” avoid paying the devil his due.

Fortunately, a blind hog doesn’t have to weigh in on such already weighty matters. In the apparently smooth and well-tended landscape of expensive lifestyles where many–like Ken Lay–have experienced life and death, God has scattered, among the lush green weeds and glittery debris, one or two meaty acorns: half-buried nuggets of wisdom for a blind hog to root out.

  • All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall… (see I Peter 1:24, Isaiah 40: 6-8). Lavish lifestyles, powerful friends, even the “middle-class luxuries” of the American dream are at best fragile flowers.
  • The Lord redeems His children from destruction, crowns them with love and compassion, satisfies their desires with good things, and fills them with joy in His presence… (see Psalm 16:10, 103:4,5). The only things that satisfy come from God.

The Lord says to us, “Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you…sure, solid, enduring love.” (Isaiah 55:2-3, The Message)

Even a blind hog can learn from the Enron morality play.