What I Write About

I write about the infinite number of intersections between every day life and the good news of the God who has come to get us.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sound Byte from "Now What?"

[Below is a sound-byte from my talk that I'm giving tonight wrapping up our first seven weeks of large group talks calling people to "raw, intentional, transformational relationships." I'm in a hurry, so this is just copied-and-pasted from my manuscript, forgive the weird formatting, it makes sense to me when I'm up front!]

Another obstacle to genuine initiation of relationships: time.

This is far and away the most consistent conversation I've had with people over these past six weeks as we've talked about cultivating real relationships--no one has the time.

Here's the deal: Busyness is the breeding ground for loneliness

For many of you, you’re so busy and so caught up in all this other stuff that you don’t have any time for real relationships. You’re super-stressed out with school and maybe work and all that you’ve got on your plate and you’ve got this meeting and that meeting and you can barely keep up

And one of the things that these past several weeks have exposed to many of you is that as much as we love Carolina and love being Tar Heels and all of the great things that go with being at UNC

what’s fundamentally true about UNC culture is that it is sick.

It is a sick culture that is so wrapped up around academic success and social polish that if we allow it to, it will destroy every single one of us. There are tons of organizations on campus here at UNC, but very little true community.

There is very little about UNC culture that affirms and values relationships the way that Jesus does.

And all the forces on campus press us into conformity—all the pressures on campus press us to fit in, to go with the flow of academic success and social polish and these two forces are not very amenable to raw, intentional, transformational relationships.

Academic pressure for success does not allow for the time that is required for the development of real relationships. Social polish does not allow for the vulnerability required to move past the surface

And for some of you tonight your first step of repentance might be to repent of your busy-ness that is literally killing you right now.


That might look like cutting back on the number of organizations that you’re involved with, quitting a job or cutting back on hours,

this might look like changing your major and your career plans because you’re realizing that it’s just not honoring to God or blessing you or the people around you to continue in the path you’re in now--you're so wrapped up in your major or your plans that it's consuming everything in your life

but what if God's priorities are more about who you're becoming and the relationships that you're forming than what you're doing? What if a life lived without real relationships is a clear sign that you are not in God's will for your life?

That’s repentance, changing your course, realizing your going down the wrong path. That’s the life-blood of the walk of a Christian.


When we don’t have time for people, we still seek community because we're hard-wired for it—so today we replace it with virtual community:

Facebook and IM work well if they supplement face-to-face relationship but they are terrible first-options for community.

What if you committed for the rest of the semester to cut your Facebook time in half, your IM time in half and instead of spending 6 hours a week in cyber-community you spent 3 hours and the other 3 hours you initiated coffee or lunch or dinner with two or three relationships you’ve wanted to pursue or that you’ve let drop this semester because you “have the time?”

What if you decided to fast from Facebook entirely for the next couple of weeks in order to create space for real relationships?

1 comment:

Abby said...

(I wanted to tell you this after large group tonight, but didn't get the chance...) Such a great talk, Alex; you said so many things that resonated with my heart: I knew God wanted me to hear them. Thanks for being willing to step on some toes and tell us what we need to hear and what we really need to repent of.