Tension & The Options . . . .

tension rubber band 2

Another Rhetorical Technique, “Snatched From The Front Pages” Of The Good & Great Speakers Of Today!

John Ortberg exemplifies an interesting rhetorical technique which can be used when preaching from a variety of other passages — whether it be biblical narratives or grammatical arguments.

As we have stated, when we hear or read a speech or message, and something grabs our interest or attention, the next step is to ask, “Why?”  What did that speaker or writer do with words that caught my interest and/or attention?  If I can quantify what just happened, I can “reproduce” the methodology or technique.

It is the conscious awareness of what we are doing and/or other speakers are doing which gives a speaker the ability to “reproduce” it, even when dealing with a passage or topic that is totally different.

Simon Vibert (author of “Excellence in Preaching”) makes this statement . . . .

The third thing preachers need to learn is what motivated the writing of “Excellence in Preaching,” namely that we learn much from preaching by listening to good preachers.  Apart from the obvious fact that preachers need to hear God’s word explained and applied for their own spiritual health, the language of mentoring and modeling is important here.  My prayer and hope is that good preachers will notice and appreciate the things good preachers do: not to mimic but rather to observe and learn.



(audio clip of John Ortberg “Next Steps: The Gap” from 5/4/2008 — @ 3:49 minute mark of the original message — Note:  I have tried to visually represent the flow of words, which also helps see how some other techniques previously discussed operate.)


Well, this GAP — precisely this gap — between current reality — on the one hand — and God’s vision for my life — on the other hand — produces tension.

And I feel pulled – in two directions simultaneously.

That’s the tension.

And tension – always cries out for it to be resolved

It always cries out to be released.


Now, there are only two ways for this tension to resolve itself.

One way is — I can pull the vision backwards towards reality.

I can lower my aspirations.

I can learn to settle for mediocre.

And if I do that — I will engage in certain strategies


You can take it to the bank


I will compare myself to people that I think are worse than me

I will avoid self-examination.

I will get distracted

by money

or by alcohol

or by pleasure

or by busyness

or by TV

or something.

I will avoid accountability.

I will withdraw.

I will try not to get into authentic relationships and people.

I will hide.

I will get used to sin.  I will get used to sin.


Only two ways to resolve this tension . . .

And one of them is — to pull the vision back towards reality.

And the other one is — to have reality move close to the vision.

to actually take steps towards experiencing Jesus’ vision of the Kingdom kind of life.


And a lot of it depends on —

Do I keep this vision always present before me

And am I always coming to understand it more clearly — so that it becomes compelling — so that I find myself saying – I want this more than I want anything else.


Here Is The Template  template gingerbread man

#1) Establish & State The Biblical Reality:  Biblically, there will always be a Gap between what God has for us and where we are in our lives.

#2) Visualize It For Your Audience:  Ortberg passed out rubber bands to the audience members when they were greeted.  He references them and asks his audience members to hook the rubber bands on their fingers, as seen below.

#3) Introduce The Number Of Options:  There are only two ways of “Resolving Tension.”  Be Careful.  There may be more than you have concluded and stated, and there will be those, and probably a good number of audience members, who will mentally challenge you as to the possibilities!**

#4) State Or Establish The Options:  You either move the vision backwards towards reality (daily life).  Or you move the reality (daily life) towards the vision.

RubberBand Samantha Garman

(picture from Samantha Garman’s article)


#5) The Selected Option Depends On:  What will determine which option you chose is whether / if / when / the condition of / your thinking about /either you are __ or you are ___ / etc.. . . .


A Templated Example    template gingerbread man

#1) Establish & State The Biblical Reality:

A) Establish & State The Biblical Reality:  Biblically, we will know more than we carry out.  We do not live the “consistent” Christian life, if we mean by that, living out what we know to be true . . . .

B) Establish & State The Biblical Reality:  Biblically, we will face temptations which have the ability to pull us momentously off course, for long periods of time.  We see that with such Bible characters as Samson . . . .

C) Establish & State The Biblical Reality:  Biblically, we will face temptations which have the ability to pull us temporarily off course.  We see that with such people as Peter . . .

D) Establish & State The Biblical Reality:  Biblically, when others perform — do better than us – excel past us, unintentionally or intentionally show us up — there are a number of paths or roads which we can step onto in response . . . .


#2) Visualize It:  Here are some visualizations ideas to get the mind generating other ideas

A) Consistency: A factory mold or stamp, which repeatedly produce what that object is supposed to look like

B) Pulled Momentously Off Course:  Using a tool and having it take off a direction which mars its object — A belt sander grooving the fine piece of oak lumber

C) Pulled Temporarily Off Course:  Hitting a puddle of water on a rain-soaked highway and felling the tire pull you off course.

D) Paths We Can Step Onto: Fork in the road — GPS options: Fastest/No Highways/No Tolls/Shortest


#3) Introduce The Number Of Options:  There are four ways or paths (for D) which a person can step onto when jealousy or envy begins occupying our thinking . . . .


#4) State Or Establish The Options:

You can either (for D) . . . .

Become falsely suspicious of their motives and therefore seek to “harm” them — “Harm” them by depreciating them or worse – like Saul with David.

Rejoice with others . . . . Fight that spirit of jealous and intentionally praise others in their successes.

Rejoice with them and mean it . . . . and see them as an asset to your life – like Saul should have seen David’s victories.

Enviously peddle harder . . . . to excel them in this-or-that area of life.


#5) The Selection Option Depends On:  What will determine which option you chose (for D) will be determined by whether you realize or not that the Lord has given each of us different skills and abilities, to be used for the accomplishment of the same ultimate goal — His Kingdom.


dictionary defintion template



 That is what these daily articles are all about!  Aiming to get the mental juices flowing in speech and sermon preparation —  to add clarity, variety, insight, attention, amplification, improvement, elaboration, interest, development, etc. to a message!

* Article Samantha Garman — “Living With Intention …. because “normal” isn’t enough” — June 13, 2012

“I came across this model the other day while doing some research on a topic, and was simply amazed at how true the concept was! To begin, here is a quick background of this Creative Tension Model. Robert Fritz, a modern-day philosopher, calls this a tension-resolution system and stretching a rubber band is considered the applied example. As one stretches it, this creates tension and the tendency of the rubber band is to pull back to resolve the tension in the system. He says to imagine that your “vision” is represented by your right hand and your “current reality” is represented by your left hand, and you have a rubber band around both hands(see the above picture). The greater the gap between your vision and reality, the more the rubber band will stretch, the greater tension that will develop, and the stronger the motivation and energy in the system will try to resolve that tension.

Now, this concept holds the same reality in my eyes, however, I’ll add a bit of twist– a significance that applies more to life in service to God. To start, instead of  “vision” and “current reality”, I believe the two ends of the rubber band can better serve this discussion when labeled “vision” or “calling” and “daily life”.

Often, men and women of God (and anyone else for that matter) have a dream, a vision, a calling, or passion in their life–divinely ordained, or not. However, our daily life often separates its events and regular occurrences away from that vision or calling. The stronger that our routine pulls away from what we’re “meant” to be doing, the more tension forms in both our soul and spirit. That tension has to be solved, and will be solved, somehow.”

With a rubber band, when it is stretched in opposite directions, the force either pulls the two ends back together  in a swift and mighty motion–relieving all tension–,or it breaks; it snaps in half. Only by Gods mercy are we able to stretch our calling ( whether personal calling or general calling as Christians) so far from the way we live day and our “normal” routine without breaking. (Breaking = death/unusable) The force of the painful release of tension, however, may be a shock, but it’s always worth it in order to have a fresh start at a life in complete service to God, and complete obedience to what he is calling you to do. But for many, Gods saving mercy is not chosen…..                 …….only leaving one other option. You fill in the blanks.

Let’s not let our actions, daily life routine, traditions, assumptions–or anything else–keep us separated by tension from our calling, purpose, passion and vision.



Tension Seeks Resolution

A basic principle found throughout nature is this: Tension seeks resolution. From the spiderweb to the human body, from the formation of the galaxies to the shifts of continents, from the swing of pendulums to the movement of wind-up toys, tension-resolution systems are in play.

“I call the relationship between the vision and current reality structural tension. During the creative process, you have an eye on where you want to go, and you also have an eye on where you currently are.

There will always be structural tension in the beginning of the creative process, for there will always be a discrepancy between what you want and what you have. Why? Because creators bring into being creations that do not yet exist. Structural tension is a fundamental principle in the creative process. In fact, part of your job as a creator is to form this tension.”

From Creating by Robert Fritz



** Run With It — i.e. — “Some of God people will do neither, but will increase the tension by living a life that is further and further away from God’s vision.”

Such would not be a third option since Ortberg is talking about relieving the tension and to relieve the tension can only mean one of two things, relaxing from one side or the other side of the rubber band.

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