24 October 2013

David and Goliath

There's more than one way of understanding the David/Goliath battle. Malcolm Gladwell identifies some new twists in the story. Things may not always be as they seem at first sight. And that's true of all situations, not just those in which we think we are facing giants.

Goliath laughs at David
Goliath laughs at David
Malcolm Gladwell has an interesting way of looking at the famous incident of David and Goliath (1 Samuel 17:1-54).

There are elements in the story that he overlooks, especially David's reliance on Yahweh. But he closely examines some details that we might normally gloss over.

Who is Malcolm Gladwell? He is a famous thinker and author, in particular he wrote The Tipping Point, a very influential book published in 2000.

Although it's a secular book, it has many ideas useful in missional movements. In fact, it might not be stepping too far from the mark to say that the book is about missional movements - just not Christian ones in particular.

A new book - His latest work, released in 2013, is called David and Goliath and comes with the strapline Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants. Watch him as he speaks at TED.



Malcolm Gladwell has clearly understood the story of David and Goliath in a different way. As he explains, we normally approach it thinking of David as the underdog. But this is not really the case; David knew exactly what he was doing.

While the story does mean what we usually take it to mean (that we should not stand in awe of a giant, but face even the most massive of issues with confidence); the real significance of Gladwell's interpretation is that it encourages us to remember that things may not always be as they seem at first sight. [Tweet it!] And that's true of all situations, not just those in which we think we are facing giants.

Questions:

  • Have there been situations in your life when you have felt small and helpless?
  • How did they work out for you?
  • How important is it to 'know your enemy'?
  • Do you think it makes a difference if you are confident? To You? To others?

See also:

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