I was in nashville for a church conference a few years ago. The kind of conference where you get goodie bags of free posters and stickers to put on the back of your station wagon. I was waiting for the elevator on the 12th floor with an unidentified man to my right who was holding his free goodie bag. You’ve been to these conferences. He was the kind of grateful conference goer that we used to be before we got jaded by all the hype. When the elevator door opened we both stepped inside. He pressed the L button and we both stood there in silence hoping to gently glide to the surface of the earth. We both awkwardly smiled at each other and immediately looked up to count down from 12 with the digital counter that stared back at us from above the door. When the number got to 10 our elevator stopped and we each retreated to our own corner to make space for new passengers. As the door opened a hip looking, older guy with dark hair walked into the elevator. My elevator companion immediately lit up and squeeled, “ERWIN MCMANUS!” Erwin smiled and said, “hello.” Without hesitating, the man standing in the corner excitedly said, “you have no idea what your book The Barbarian Way has done for my life. You have changed my life! You have no idea how my whole life has changed because of that book!” Erwin humbly asked the man what was it about the book that changed his life. Just then a stiff breeze of silence blew through the elevator shaft. Which was then followed by a heat wave of blank stares from the man. If there were crickets in the elevator, their sound would have been deafening. We drifted about a hundred feet to the ground which felt like days while this poor guy stood frozen, unable to think of a single thought or idea from the book that was so life changing. When our elevator finally landed on the earth and the digital counter flashed the letter L, the doors opened with Erwin kindly mustering a “how about you get back to me about that?” as he walked out of the elevator. The man with the goodie bag shuffled his feet into the lobby in complete shame, shaking his head that he couldn’t remember one “life changing” thought.
In christian circles we love to talk about life changing books, life changing messages, life changing retreats, life changing mission trips, on and on we go. We seem to be obsessed with it. Are we people who are living and loving so radically different than we used to?
have we trained ourselves to talk about life change so much that we’ve fooled ourselves into thinking our lives have actually changed?