offline act of kindness

I’m hunched over on a heating grate at this standing room only Starbucks hotspot on the corner of 47th and Broadway, keeps me toasty, warm, and online.

My afternoon meetings with Tim Keller and a few other people his side and from my side was dynamic. As it is with these closed door meetings, I am not at liberty to comment much more. I don’t do well at formal meetings, and I do put some of them together occasionally. I made some perfunctory remarks, smile broadly, head noddingly. There’s a place for polite conversations, and I tend to keep it overly polite here on my blog also (knowing some of my readers would prefer a more raw and authentic voice.)

I’ve long had this dread/ fear/ dislike/ anxiety/ discomfort about strong leaders, because I don’t like leaders that run over people, when leaders force their will on others, when leaders aren’t able to show compassion for people’s feelings, can’t relate to people b/c they’re too driven with tasks.

After the formal meeting was over, I was invited (okay, elbowed) into an one-on-one personal dialogue with Tim. Those were treasured moments. I will go on the record and say this: Thank you, Tim! You’ve showed me much grace in your act of kindness to check-in with me, and exercised keen adeptness at decoding my remarks. And thanks for the invite to the Redeemer open forum tonight too.

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  1. bumble says:

    Wow – is this the fame Tim Keller whom sermon was published and quoted around so much?

  2. Andy says:


    Love your website, been perusing it now for about two months.

    Since you don’t know me, I’ve been emboldened to make a few comments your latest journal entry about meeting Tim Keller.

    Based on what you wrote, I believe that if you grew up in the 1930’s in Germany, you would have been a Nazi. If you had grown up in China during the Mao years, you would have been a Communist.

    You see, your journal entry betrays a “leader-idol” predisposition in you. Anyone who approaches leaders with a certain amount of trepidation and hand-wringing (as you openly acknowledged), only to gush profusely afterwards about the kindness and magnetic aura of the person, has a certain predeliction and innate hunger to follow, and to follow blindly. There is nothing wrong to follow great leadership, in fact it can be a Biblical mandate, but there is a fundamental difference between following a great leader, and blindly following a charismatic leader.

    This is not a slight on Tim Keller who is a great leader and Christian. But he’s just a human after all, something your gushing comments seem to almost bypass.

    Compare your comments on meeting Keller with comments made by someone who met Mao:

    The occasion was another dinner party to which my father had been invited and permitted to bring a daughter. It was Mao’s 70th birthday. By 1963, of course, I was no longer a young, ignorant teenager. I considered meeting Mao to be a rare honor, and I was filled with excitement. Mao seemed relaxed, talking to his guests and laughing often. At one point he turned to me and asked what I was doing. I answered nervously that I had finished college and was a teacher of English. Mao smiled kindly and said he could not believe that I was already a teacher. Then he asked if I would like to take him as my student. I was embarrassed and stumbled over my reply. I said, “How dare I teach you, Chairman?” Mao laughed a little and said, “Why not?”

  3. Scott says:

    hey Andy. aren’t you reading a little to much into this?