Painting in the Relief . . . .

Paint Glop P

Andy Stanley is a MASTER at this technique!

I call this rhetorical technique, “Painting in the Relief.”  Andy is giving “color” and adding “relief” to his message.  He does this by adding constructive lists which build the character, event, or situation.

Notice how many times Andy verbally calls up a “constructive listing” to paint in the span of an idea.  I call it “constructive” because it involves building a picture for the audience.  It could also be called “painting in the details or the relief” so that the audience gets the picture of what is happening, or who the person is, or what are the audience’s various life situations, what people do, or ……..

 

These examples below are in the first 15 minutes of a 40-minute message.  Some are shorter than others, but they all have that rhetorical pattern of building the idea or painting in the details of a situation, event, or person.

I have not provided a word-for-word transcript of his message, but rather have attempted to reflect the quick movement of his listings and sought to catch his rapid flow of brushing in the colors.

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Andy Stanley – “Boulevard of Dreams” – “When you can’t find your way back”  – 2007

 

Andy Stanley:  We all have had childhood dreams . . . . . Mine was to be a rock star . . . . but like me, it just didn’t happen . . . . some dreams  . . . . we are glad that they didn’t happen . . . . . as we get older — we have serious dreams . . . they are really not dreams but — they are expectations . . . .

  • get married
  • have children
  • get a good job
  • have kids and then grandkids
  • begin a career , three cars, a white couch

They are not unrealistic dreams

 

One day. . . . the lights go out on that dream . . . .  it’s not going to happen

  • You are not going to be married by the time you’re 30
  • This first marriage is not working out
  • It’s not happily ever after . . things are starting to come apart
  • Your on the second marriage feeling like the first marriage
  • You’re not going to get into the college of your choice … the one your grandparents went to and your parents went to and gave to . . you’re not getting in
  • That scholarship is not coming through.
  • You got the rejection letter.
  • You started that business and it is not taking off the way that you dream
  • You’re daughter informed you . . .  she is marrying him anyway . .  and you can come or not come . .  but they are getting married
  • You are not going to have grandchildren.
  • You are not going to live to see them.

 

It is not going to happen for you . . .  and you realize

  • Too much time has gone by
  • Too many bad decisions

 

What do you do with those emotions . . . It is this that drives people to

  • drink too much
  • pop too many pills
  • show extraordinary anger
  • punish that ex-spouse, that ex-husband  / that ex-wife
  • use the kids to punish that spouse
  • do things you never thought you would do before
  • say things you never thought you would say
  • (repeated) do things you never thought you would do

 

It can wreck your life . . . and you are not going to reach those dreams

  • because you said things
  • because you did things
  • because you made it more complicated

 

(David and his dream)

This is a man who . . . .

  • killed a lion with his bare hands
  • and a bear at a different time
  • this is the same David that a late teen went down into a valley and faced a giant with a slingshot
  • this is a warrior
  • this is a man who emerged from battles drenched in blood from his own soldiers
  • who was so aggressive in battle that they kept trying to pull him back from the front line
  • this is a man who saw things we’ll never see
  • and did things we’ll never do
  • this is a man who was a natural born leader
  • people were attracted to him when he was young
  • he rose up through the ranks and actually became king
  • not because he was related to a king
  • because some unique about him
  • this was a man’s man

 

For David . . .

  • he is King
  • conquered all his enemies
  • life is good
  • had a bunch of wives
  • which means he has a bunch of kids – grown now
  • life is good
  • more than he could ever hope for
  • a legacy
  • a future
  • a promise from God

 

We don’t know what David knew (concerning Absalom)

  • certainly, he heard rumors
  • certainly, he knew something was going on
  • something working against you . . . . . . that you don’t want to know about
    • saw that letter, but surely it didn’t mean that
    • heard that voice mail, but surely that’s not what that’s about
    • your children won’t look you in the eye when you talk about, but surely nothing is going on
    • your husband seems a little distant
    • your wife has unaccounted for time
    • people at work seem a little distant, but they’re busy

 

It’s when . . . .

  • you’re filed with papers, you hoped .. hoped .. but that marriage is gone
  • that conversation with the school counselor and you had hoped things weren’t like you thought they might be with your teenage daughter
  • boss called you in, this can’t be happening to me . . . things seemed better, working harder, but there it is, its over
  • a call from a bank
  • a call from a doctor
  • an email from a friend
  • its that moment in time when you realize that dream is not coming through and it’s too late to rescue it

 

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To do what Andy does, you will probably find it useful to represent the items of the constructive list as separate bullet points in your notes so you can quickly catch them with your eyes, and not try to visually grab them from a linear listing  . . . .

This is a man who . . . .

→ killed a lion with his bare hands

→ and a bear at a different time

→ this is the same David that a late teen went down into a valley and faced a giant with a slingshot

→ this is a warrior

→ this is a man who emerged from battles drenched in blood from his own soldiers

→ who was so aggressive in battle that they kept trying to pull him back from the front line

→ this is a man who saw things we’ll never see

→ and did things we’ll never do

→ this is a man who was a natural born leader

→ people were attracted to him when he was young

→ he rose up through the ranks and actually became king

→ not because he was related to a king

→ because some unique about him

→ this was a man’s man

 

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It is also worth noting that a speaker can include all this information in a full grammatically proper sentence form, but it loses some of its “colorful relief.”

“One time while watching the sheep, David killed a lion.  There was another occasion when he had to take out a bear.  We all know about the battle between him and Goliath.  You see David was a warrior.  He would emerge from battles drenched in the blood of his own soldiers.   David is a man who saw things we’ll never see and did things we’ll never do.  He was a natural born leader, and people were attracted to him when he was young. . . . ” — (presented in a “linear format”)

HOWEVER, Andy’s method and style is rhetorical!!

The art of writing is not the same as the art of speaking.   You can do things in speaking that you really aren’t permitted to do in writing — though I do.

He takes advantage of what speakers can and should do and therefore interjects quick statements and phrases to “daub in” the colors, and doesn’t worry about full sentences throughout his elucidations.

 

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You can build your own lists in a paper notebook or e-document, using a variety of different categories.  Then, when you are looking to add some variety, color, support, understanding, fullness, relief, or color to the picture, you can go to these lists to get your mind going down those avenues.  Even looking at Andy’s list will get your mind going as well!

  • Situations of life:
  • Occupational demands:
  • Stressful experiences:
  • Life changing events:
  • Firsts:
  • Where people find themselves, though never expected:
  • The events which marked “David’s” life / Paul’s life / etc:
  • The circumstances that surrounded Esther’s coming to Queen:
  • The varied responses by Pharoah to the plagues:

 

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Let’s give it a try . . . . off the cuff . . . . Let’s take Esther . . . . .

This is a woman who . . . .

→ lived in Babylon with her family

→ whose mom and dad died while she was young

→ saw the destruction of the Babylonian kingdom

→ was there when the Persian power began its reign of the world

→ was raised by her cousin

→ lived in the winter capital city of Persia – Shushan

→ she saw things in the pagan world of Persian power & glory which we’ll never see

→ she faced decisions –  probably will never have to face

→ she was selected to be one of the competitors  – for Queen

→ like it or not  — she was the contestant from the capital city 

→ favored by  Hegai

→ unknown to be a Jewess

→ unknown to be related to Mordecai

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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