The Bump Effect

Imagine this: imagine your on a hundred foot yacht in New York harbor. You’re heading off across the Atlantic. Your destination: St. Ives Parish Church in Cornwall, England.

On your out of the harbor, a little jet ski rams into you and your hundred foot yacht is bumped, pushing the bow of your ship 10 feet south. Not a big deal right? Well, by the time you’ve traveled the 3300 miles across the Atlantic, you are more than 300 miles off course to the south! Instead of landing in England, you’ve now landed in the southern Aquitaine region of France, just south of Bordeaux. It’s beautiful, but I don’t speak French.

What’s the point, other than I’ve been playing with Google Earth a lot? Well, I can put this illustration to good use in so many ways. First, I could say that a small change in trajectory theologically can have huge consequences eternally – like the difference between heaven and hell. Take for instance the little Greek iota in the Nicene Creed. If Jesus is homoiousius, like Arius wanted the church to believe, then he was similar to God, but not quite God. If, I believe, Jesus wasn’t God, he wasn’t a sufficient Savior (God alone saves). Thankfully, the church affirmed that Jesus is homoousius, of the same substance with God, not just similar. Huge difference. And to think people were mocking the anti-Arians for quibbling over just an iota. It’s an iota with eternal consequences.

But what got me thinking about the ship wasn’t a theological point at all, but how we effect culture as Christians. Sometimes it just doesn’t seem like we’re doing much to change our worlds. However, if just a few people take what they’ve learned in a sermon or in a cgroup or in their own personal study and live it out during the week, it might have a bump effect on others. If someone genuinely changes, and becomes slightly more loving, slightly more patient, slightly less self absorbed, then the week of their friends, coworkers and families will be slightly better, and his could have a dramatic over the course of years. And if 100 people change slightly, the bump effect could effect a whole dorm or corporation or school. I may be dreaming, but it is certainly encouraging (the fact that I’m not a pessimistic premillennialist might have something to do with it also).

Well, that’s my thoughts. If you don’t agree with me, keep it to yourself and allow me my little dream!