Posts Tagged ‘authenticity’



Authenticity and the Deceptive Allure of Perfection

Authenticity. It’s a big word and it’s everywhere today. We want an authentic life with authentic friends, even down to attending church with an authentic preacher. But sadly, we, myself included, are often guilty of measuring ourselves against the impossible: the manufactured image of perfection we hear, watch, and read about. These works of populist fiction become our target in real life. I must congratulate my fellow marketers in succeeding selling us plastic perfection but derailing us in our pursuit of an authentic self. But no matter how philosophical I get, I find myself going back to the old adage, “beauty is skin deep, but ugliness is to the bone.” So I try harder, run longer, hit the gym at 5 a.m. and pass up on the chocolate cake that beckons for me every time I walk into the kitchen. My insecurity demons emboldened by the latest picture of the…

Read More

The Problem with the Fake Blog

“And let’s also add a blog to the new site design,” he said as if it were an afterthought, which I was sure it was. Knowing his propensity for delegating, I probed further, “That’s great. How often are you planning on blogging?” “Oh, I’m not going to write the blog myself, ” he said assuredly, “my secretary is going to take care of that.” Unfortunately, I find myself having this conversation with Pastors and business leaders more and more often. What ensues is usually a long argument about what a blog should or shouldn’t be. Here are some thoughts on the matter: Your blog should be your voice. It’s telling your story or the things you’re passionate about. No one else can do it for you. Are you sure you want your assistant speaking for you? If you have a corporate blog than, it’s a different matter. You can even…

Read More

The Authenticity Trap

Authenticity is the new oratory device of the day for Christians. Self disclosure and complete openness have never been so popular among evangelicals. The days of leaders who spoke from a strong tower of knowledge, holiness, and utter discipline seem to be numbered. Over the past decade I have seen a communication shift that takes speakers and authors from a place of strength and knowledge alone and puts them in a more honest, imperfectly human dialogue context with their audience. I have personally enjoyed this shift. It resonates with my fallen nature and helps me to know that even those whom I admire struggle like I do. Lately I have been concerned with the inevitable abuse of the authenticity device. As the pendulum swings from the bully pulpit of years past into the self-disclosing conversational approach of our social-media rich environment, it continues past center into what I call the…

Read More

Confessions of a Hypocrite

Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite. I know that sounds harsh, but it’s quite descriptive of my feelings. I’ve felt that way since my early professional days as a pastor. Those who work in ministry might be able to identify with the sentiment. After all, pastors and church staff, just by virtue of their positions, are expected to be holier and wiser than the rest of the congregation. Their struggles are beyond the mundane issues of the rest of the non-professional Christians deal with.  Therein lies my problem. While I’m not  lowering the standards for those in ministry, I know the toll those expectations can take on those whose lives are supposed to be a living example of God’s promises, blessings and teachings. Every single day. All the time. With a smile. Life under the microscope of unrealistic expectations is painful. The days you question your career path, your spouse…

Read More

Judging the Struggle

I haven’t met anyone perfect yet. There are few people who want me to believe they have it all figured out, but I’m not buying it. Some struggles are easier to hide, others play out in the public eye,  and some are devastating. But part of the human condition means that we are fallen creatures and that we often sweat the small things, wrestle with  big questions, doubt was supposed to be certain. Some refer to these struggles as baggage. I don’t agree. Baggage is something you choose to carry around. Our struggles are too often tied in to the very core of who we are, to the human condition. As a Christian, I find myself wanting to judge people whose battle is different than mine more harshly and empathize with those whose struggles mirror my own. That’s very hypocritical. Today as I run into hurting people whose struggles are…

Read More

The Problem with Fakes

Last time I was in Hong kong I bought a couple of Rolexes. Instead of costing thousands of dollars each, they cost less than 100 dollars for both watches. These are great-looking replicas of the original. From the heavy weight of the watch to  the smooth second hand movement, these watches look and feel like the real thing. After I bought them, I reasoned with myself, “why did I ever by a real one?” There’s only one problem with my imitation watches: they can’t keep time. Every time I wear one of my Falsex watches, I’m reminded why I love my real Rolex. In life, much like my watches, the fake seldom deliver on their promises. In the business world we deal with salespeople and companies that promise us a product or services just as good as the high-quality, more expensive version, but for less than half of the price.…

Read More

Before You Go To Church Readjust Your Expectations

We love to complicate simple things. The simple bottled water has turned into a multi-billion dollar industry that features flavor infused, protein added and whatever we can find to add in water and sell it. Human nature seem always  to want more, better and bigger. And while this desire to improve on what we have, reach for new heights and possibilities keeps us growing, it also can rob us from the very essence of the simple and foundational purpose.  That’s ever so true on how we have complicated church. This Sunday morning as I’m preparing to go to church, I’m aware of how much we have complicated church as well. I’ve caught myself anticipating the music, the new set, the featured video or even getting my favorite parking spot near the side door more than looking forward to worshiping with my church family or hearing from God. I’ve managed to…

Read More

Are We Creating a Better Version of Ourselves Online?

Last week I got several messages from Twitter and Facebook friends about getting together during the Catalyst conference. Unfortunately my schedule was packed with meetings in-between sessions and dinner appointments, and I wasn’t able to  meet many of my digital friends face to face. Since then my insecurities have taken hold of me and whispered, “maybe it was for the best. You’re a lot better looking and more interesting online than in real life.” That thought has stayed with me for days now and I can’t seem to shake it. I overheard a co-worker say that she is often disappointed when meeting celebrities in real life situations because they never live up to her expectations. Ok, I’m not a celebrity–I have no paparazzi following me, or even a friendly stalker–but the comment forced me to ask the question, “have I created a better version of myself online?” I’m not sure…

Read More

Vanity Sizing and the Need for Truth

Truth is not always pleasant, fun or convenient, but it’s always necessary in life. Without the truth of a working compass, we would be desperately lost. Without the truth of a mirror, we wouldn’t know we have spinach stuck between our teeth or an embarrassing case of bed hair. And yet, our culture continues to find ways to make us feel better about ourselves even at the cost of the truth. Last week I learned about “vanity sizing.” It’s been a known practice in women’s fashion, but it’s now part of men’s as well. In order to make consumers feel better about themselves, and potentially buy more merchandise, designers are selling items that are purposely mislabeled to seem smaller than they actually are. And I’m not just talking about half or a size difference. Old Navy, for example sells pants labeled 36 inch waist that are actually 41 inches. Marketers…

Read More