The Curse of Knowledge

Picture this: Two groups of people. One group, the “tappers” have to tap out a tune using only their knuckles on a hard surface. “Listeners” listen to the taps and try to decipher which song it is out of a well-known list of twenty-five.

Tappers predicted Listeners had about %50 chance of guessing their song. The results: 3 out of 120 listeners guessed the song right. *

Imagine the frustration of the tappers—the song was so obvious, so easy! Yes, for them it was. Yet they were playing the song in the heads! All the listeners heard were raps on a table that sounded like nothing more than Morris code.

It’s called the “curse of knowledge” and it’s not a new idea. But! I think it’s something we often overlook when it comes to sharing our beliefs. We’ve been served knowledge, fed ideologies and eaten our own share of information for years. It makes sense to us, and eventually we forget what it was like to have a lack of that knowledge. So when we spit it back out: green-gray  mess.

I’m fond of a man named Jesus. He had a crazy-vast amount of knowledge and wisdom, yet it wasn’t His brilliance that made Him stand out. It was His ability to spread an idea** which set Him apart.  He did it with story, simplicity, concrete examples, credibility (integrity) and element of surprise that shocked the world. Ironically, His approaches are now widely used as marketing techniques and by social media gurus.

My point is this: If we want to do it (be a good teacher, share our story, start–or even carry on a movement) we’ve got to do it right! We’ve got to make ourselves memorable, spreadable, understandable. We’ve got to do it like Jesus did!


* This is a real study conducted by a woman named Elizabeth Newton at Stanford. Super fascinating. Check it out!

* *People need a Savior to reconcile them to God, and He would die for them to be that Savior



Taking Communion

I’ve been thinking about communion.

How the word itself is like an invitation. When whispered one might hear, “Come—union,” and then God is waiting there to meet us.

I am thinking about the thin, tasteless cracker and the small plastic cup. How we down it like a shot, licking purpled lips and coughing quick confessions. And God is still waiting. Come—have communion with me.

And I wonder, how it became this— our tasting of God a stale, small cracker, our life-water a one ounce cup? “I will hide you in the crevice of rock,” God said to Moses, “And show you my glory.” Moses understood true communion with God—meeting with him, yes. But wanting to see his glory! And God, our Father, the faithful and good, said, I will show you only my back, for you cannot look upon my face. God knew what was good for this part-time oracle. He knows what’s good for us. He intimately knows our every need, and how to reveal Himself to each and every personality.

So often we pass around a stale and over-used understanding of an infinite God. Have we lost the desire and passion of our predecessors to truly know God’s glory for ourselves? I challenge myself (and anyone who’s stuck around to read this) to ask! To ask a good God to reveal his glory and tell him you’re ready (who’s ever truly ready?), but at least willing to know Him as He wants to be known. Then get ready to taste and see a God beautiful and good as He so desires; get ready to leave behind your pre-packaged understanding. Take communion.