Explain Things to a Six-Year-Old

I am at another conference. All these conferences feature a keynote speaker–an author, an astronaut, a professional speaker, a motivational person. The person speaking right now is a “futurist.” While researching a book, he ran across a quote from Albert Einstein who said that if you cannot explain your theory in terms a six-year-old can understand, then you are a fraud.

Boy, do I ever run across this problem with people explaining theological concepts. People try to explain the Trinity. OK, just about impossible to make that understandable. People try to explain Jesus, the teachings of Paul, how we should live, and many other concepts. When they are through talking, no one understands anything new.

Karl Barth was a theologian who wrote thousands of pages. His work on the book of Romans was extensive. He wrote thousands of words explaining what Paul wrote in a few hundred.

But…when asked toward the end of his life to sum up his work, he said, (or sang) “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

That is the explanation that a six-year-old can understand.

Do you make things too complex?

I know people who take a simple project and, by the time they finish explaining the project it is so complex that no one can understand.

I have actually built a career trying to explain complex technical ideas into words that any educated person (my audience) can understand. Microsoft people have complemented me on my ability to explain embedded operating systems and programming to a general engineering audience.

The point is to challenge you to think about your beliefs and learning and then explain them in understandable terms. Perhaps the exercise of thinking through your beliefs will cause you to throw out prejudices and half-truths and come to reality–the simple truths.

Hint–study Jesus as an example, not Paul. Jesus could go directly into the heart of the matter. Paul–he was a highly educated man. He used 100 words when 5 would work better.

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