Monday, July 12, 2010

Science in Missions: An Inconceivable Feat?

The memory remains with me almost as fresh as the string cheese I was holding that September Friday night back in '89. I stood by the refrigerator door w/ my snack in hand, a spy movie from the late '60's playing on the tv two rooms away. Though I don't know what prompted it, a thought just suddenly occurred to me. If a lightning strike can cause a power outage b/c of an electrical overload, what if somebody could have some sort of metallic ball in their backyard that could act like a lightning rod, which, if struck, could then kick the power back on inside their house?

Of course if you know your science, you know that this idea is wholly laughable (I was only 9 at the time, mind you). Even the very idea of harnessing energy from a lightning bolt is quickly dismissed due to the excessive amount of energy that you're dealing with, and the rapidity with which it is delivered. However, is that to say that the idea is unattainable, or at least unprofitable? "You could probably do it through the use of superconductors," a friend of mine told me. I like that, it sounds pretty cool, and the only question I have is...what's a superconductor? In any event, it's an idea I'm working with (sapping energy from a lightning bolt, that is; the ball-in-the-backyard idea was discarded a long time ago).

What of science in missions, though? Are there any possibilities, and what did all of that stuff I just said have to do w/ it? It is commonly understood that the work of a missionary is the communication of the Gospel, but one thing that's sometimes overlooked is that the communication of the Gospel must be accompanied by deeds: "If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, "Depart in peace, be warmed and filled," but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit?" - James 2:15-16

There are many needs in the world today, and the solutions to them can often be answered by science. One such need is for newer (and preferrably renewable) sources of energy, and along w/ that, the effective implementation, maintenance, and distribution of energy systems in underdeveloped areas around the world. Will I find a way someday to tap into the power of a lightning bolt? It's doubtful, but it's worth the try. The worst thing that can happen is that nothing I try turns out to be successful, in which case I've succeeded in helping others figure out what won't work so they can spend their time and energy on other approaches which might work, instead. The bottom line is I'm following this path b/c, to make a long story short, I see the arrows of God pointing in this direction, and if that's the case, the most intelligent thing I can do is to keep walking this path.

So, that's just one idea that comes to mind in terms of how science can play a role in missions. Think you might have any others? I'd be interested to hear what you have to say.

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