Thursday, September 04, 2008

the 3 o'clock conversations

"You can impress from a distance, but you only truly impact up close."  I've heard this a bunch of times and I can't see any flaws in this argument.  I've seen it played out hundreds of times in the people's lives around me.

I love going to the big conferences.  I think it's great to have a silly amount of people show up to the big thing...but to what end?  Often it's like going to the big game - exciting, energizing, exhilarating...and not a whole lot changes.

I know this.  If you get enough people to show up to the big thing - you'll get some stories.  You're bound to.  Stuff will happen.  It always does.  If 50 people sit around and don't do much, there will probably be at least one person who just sort of does something noteworthy.  500 might produce 10 stories...and so on.  You might even get enough stories to keep you going, but is this the best way?

Gatherings are good for gathering.  If there's no second step, no relationship, no sense of belonging or commitment - I'm just not sure there will be much impact.

Bono won't really have that big of an influence on my life.  He just won't.  I'm impressed by him.....sometimes inspired.  I might even do a thing or two that he talks about - I'm just not sure that he'll have made an impact on my life the way that the people I live with will.

Day to day takes a lot longer.  Life on life is a lot tougher.  Unpolished, unrehearsed conversations aren't always as noteworthy as convention speeches and conference keynotes...but they do something bit by bit that eventually creates a difference.

So where does that leave us?  If this is how we've always done it - if this is all we've ever really seen - if the other way seems harder - if there isn't a great book out there telling us how to live among people as opposed to telling them how to live - how will we ever hope to do it?


  1. Just wondering what that really says about "big names" like Bono, or Billy Graham, or Tony Robbins? ALL impress and no impact?

    It also shows how very interesting that Jesus fella was. Kept everything up close. Impacted on a personal level yet impresses the masses still today.