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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Law of Unintended Consequences

I am off on Mondays. Yesteday was also a "Snow Holiday" in the Memphis TN area as we got blanketed with about 4 inches of the fluffy white magic. As we knew the night before that there was no school, we were spared the daily ritual of (repeated) wake-up calls and lunch making and other preparations of a normal day. My wife and I were lounging around when the phone rang. It was a friend of ours who is also an occassional church attender. His job takes him out of town regularly. In fact, he was calling us from the airport in Nashville.

We talked about several things including this blog. He told me that he was planning to come to church on Sunday. As he was looking at the church website ( for the times of the eucharist he stumbled across the blog. It turns out that he got side tracked reading the blog, lost track of time and missed church. "So," I said to him, "I made you miss church because of the blog?" We both laughed about the paradox of that. So much for my plan!

Plans. All of us have made plans. All of us do things with some sort of intended outcome. I write this blog for "wonderers and wanderers." My target audience is believers who are sometimes buffeted with doubts. I want to reach out to the people who have questions. In addition, I write for open minded agnostics and atheists. I want to engage people who do not believe, yet have the courage to 'doubt their doubts.' My hope is some day someone will show up at our door and say, "I read your blog and I want to go to church here." It hasn't happened yet. However, my friend did miss church because of the blog! (ha!)

One of the things about life is every choice we make (and the many choices we do not make) all create reality. A person is driving his car and decides to change his radio station. He reaches for the radio and inadvertantly changes lanes and causes a wreck. People die. People are injured. Lives are changed. The consequences of the act of changing a radio station reverberate through history. A hundred years from now it could be a link in the chain which produces a cure for cancer or a nuclear holocaust.

We cannot control all the outcomes. We cannot foresee them. Obviously, there are expected outcomes for our actions. We can sort of think through some of those. But we cannot be totally certain exactly what all the outcomes will be. That is why HOPE is so important. It is why prayer is so important. In the end, what we do may not achieve our intended ends. But when we give it to God we have reason to think that He will use it and make a good of it in the end. My friend who read the blog, well, he missed church but we did have a great conversation about it. He is going to help me to help some needy people. He also talked with me about a friend of his who is an atheist. He and I made a connection for the first time in months, a connection which brought joy to me. Last but not least, he gave me a blog idea! So you never know how things will work out!

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