Monday, May 19, 2014

TED Talks and Tim's Thoughts

My inspiration for running these days is the TED Radio Hour on NPR. I stream them from Stitcher Radio on my smart phone. The quality, precision, and variety of topics has no rival. I run and learn about love as a chemical reaction at the base of my skull. I jog and consider the kinship of belief and doubt. I race and ponder the power of storytelling, origins of beauty, and abuses of wealth.

In fact, TED Talks have become so addictive that I watch them while folding laundry, doing dishes, driving my car, and preparing sermons. I've learned about sleep deprivation, collaboration, false causes of obesity, and the psychology of shame while checking off chores from my weekly list. TED Talks have made me faster, smarter, and far more productive.

Of course, I don't always know what to do with the information.This is the curse of the Google Era: Knowing outpaces being and doing.  I now know about experiments with monkeys and currency, but that doesn't stop me from frittering money away on milkshakes. I now know about the havoc backlit screens reap on sleep patterns, but it doesn't keep me going to bed with my Kindle Fire.

Information does not result in transformation because information is impersonal.

TED talks to me, but his active listening skills are lackluster. TED gives me information about parallel universes, but he does not comfort me when my reality comes crashing down.  TED is a savant in hard sciences, but an idiot in personal counseling. TED spreads ideas, but he cannot change a heart.
So at the end of all the talks, I am left wanting. I don't know what to do with the new ideas. I'm not sure how they fit into my personal life, home, or profession of pastoral ministry. I can regurgitate interesting factoids at small group gatherings, but so can any Dick, Jane, or Harry with a smart phone. What makes an idea worth spreading is not its novelty or scientific intrigue, but its ability to transform.

Since TED Talks have inspired better running and housekeeping, I will continue to listen. As for my dream of braving the TEDx stage in the near future, I'll defer. The weekly TIM Talks I give at my church more than satisfy. For God's word can change a heart.

Picture submitted for my TED profile.

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