Catalyst 2013 Atlanta Malcolm Gladwell Notes

Note: This is my rough notes from the Catalyst Atlanta 2013 event.

malcom gladwellMalcolm Gladwell took the stage after Sleeping At Last played a couple of songs.

He began by sharing people who preach sermons and how he’s always wanted to preach a sermon. He considers this his sermon.

His book David & Goliath just released this week. The book is a story on how we don’t know our own strengths.

To break the deadlock, the Philistines sent out their best warrior, Goliath. Goliath tells the Israelites to send out their best warrior to battle.

No one would come forth to face the giant until David, the shepherd boy, presents himself.

David makes himself known to Saul by laying out his skill-set and how he’s gone to battle as a shepherd.

Goliath sees that it’s a shepherd boy with his staff, and is insulted.

David retorts that he comes with a greater power. He then picks up a stone, puts it in a sling, knocks Goliath down, and then cuts off his head.

David is often referred to as the underdog. The weakling, the one who shouldn’t have won.

All David has is a sling – The first mistake we make in assuming he’s the underdog

David’s slingshot was actually one of the most devastating weapons of the ancient world. The stone would leave the sling at 35 meters per second.

The stopping power of David’s stone was equivalent of a 45 caliber bullet.

There is no question David had the means and opportunity to strike David dead. Yet we often underestimate him.

Slingers were often a devastating force.

Goliath was heavy infantry. A big hunkering soldier.

Come to me – Key phrase. Heavy infantry on heavy infantry. David knew better and used a sling. Goliath was slow

1 Samuel 16

When you look at the heart, you see the true favorite

We radically underestimate the value of the heart. It affects the way we approach the world.

Le Chambon is similar to David and Goliath

France fell to Germany and a pastor stands against Germany in his church.

The town didn’t go along with the problem. Wouldn’t salute, wouldn’t ring the bells, etc.

The pastor was able to cut deals with the interment camps to save children and bring them to their town and surrounding woods.

Nothing went according to plan when a governmental minister comes to town. Made sure everything went wrong.

Soup spilled down his shirt. No one showed up for the parade. Speech given based on Romans 13:8

Children wrote an awesome letter telling the minister they wouldn’t be able to take any of the Jews that were in Le Chambon.

The story is often told as the town being 1 in a million rather than the fact the people knew themselves.

The town knew the weapons they had. Realizing their weapons may be better than the Germans.

They had the advantage of being higher up. Weather was on their side. They could see the attacks coming. They’ve made friends that notified them of upcoming roundups.

The most important weapon they had: They’d been through this before. They knew how to handle trouble like this.

The Catholic church had persecuted the Protestant church in this town before.

This gave them the knowledge and confidence in their own faith.

Andre Chompnee’s wife said: I did not know it would be dangerous. Nobody did.

The other Christians of France didn’t know their identities in Christ. We underestimate the value of our faith.

Returning to the original story of David and Goliath

We misunderstand Goliath

There are many inconsistencies about Goliath: He was led down by a guide. Why does the mightiest warrior need an attendant? There’s a mention Goliath moved slowly. Why point out he’s slow? Why did it take so long for Goliath to figure out what David was doing? He shouldn’t have been insulted, he should have been worried. Goliath said What am I? A dog? That you come at with me with sticks? David didn’t come at him with sticks but a stick.

Goliath may have been suffering from a disease. Acromegaly. A tumor on his brain.

This presents with extreme height.

Other famous people: Andre The Giant and possibly Abe Lincoln

Affects vision.

What we see isn’t always what’s real. It can present a different view and overwhelm us.

Two Things To Remember:

Giants are not always what they seem

Someone armed with nimble feet and the spirit of the Lord isn’t an underdog.

Finished early so Andy Stanley sits down to ask a few questions;

Do we start by trying to recognize the strengths in ourselves and organizations or the weaknesses we may have overlooked?

No, be creative and come up with an alternative strategy. Foundation of innovation.

Your obstacles and weaknesses are the opportunity for our greatest learning.

Andy – Church planters often see that they have no advantages when they go into a new city. 15 years later they see the advantages they actually had.

1. David is marked by his refusal to be passive. Overlooked and pushed to the side.

2. David is the only one who correctly identified the strengths his faith gave him.

Andy – When you’re in a new environment, you’re starting fresh, what do we look for first and do first?

The David position is a high-risk position. You may wonder if you’ll miss. We need to keep it in mind. Be forgiving of those who fail. What gives us the strength is that if something doesn’t work, you get another shot.

The forgiving community is vital.

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