Be Real For A Reason

Published on October 29, 2009 by CT in Blog, Twexplanation


Be Real

Sometimes, 140 characters need more explanation…

Tweet:  It seems the more willing we are to admit what we don’t know, the more people will actually listen to what we do know.

We want our preachers and writers and teachers to be real these days.  If you are vulnerable, you are respected.  If you are transparent, you are admired.  In fact, the surest way to encounter closed ears and closed hearts today is to always talk rather than listen; specifically to always talk about someone else.

Donald Miller has experienced a lot of success in writing in the past few years, and it’s well deserved because he is a gifted story-teller and writes with urban elegance.  And I hope for every continued success for him.  But I think he’s striking a chord with so many today because he opens himself up on every page.  People respond to this kind of writing, because they feel welcomed to the conversation instead of stuck in front of a lectern.

I don’t know exactly why things are the way they are, but I suppose it is in part the ever-cyclical reaction of one generation against its predecessors.  We’ve probably seen too many hypocrites or too many self-assured preachers sharing three-point, alliterative, topical sermons that seem to touch on others more than themselves.  And I don’t want to go too far here:  preaching shouldn’t be about the preacher anyway; it should be about Jesus.  But it’s nice to hear a guy who wrestles like we do in living out our faith.

But before we trumpet transparency as the new king of characteristics, it’s useful to probe into why there is so much power in identifying with someone.  I’m sure there are many reasons, but one of them must be because it makes us feel normal.  If you’re like me at all, you spend much of your day thinking about yourself.  And you’re probably self-critical, understanding to some degree how selfish and judgmental your thoughts can be.  So it’s nice to know someone we respect and admire has similar thoughts and feelings.

Ultimately, I think we’re responding to humility in a person.  When people are humble, they imply that the distance between them and us is quite small in relation to the distance between man and God.  And there’s good reason to be humble:  we get more grace (James 4:6).  And grace rightly received deepens true humility.

So it’s good to be humble, because it gives us an audience for people who want to hear what we do know.  But this audience is best served when our normalcy points to Christ’s superiority.

Original Tweet: