Daily Archives: February 23, 2008

a split-second later

Because of the processing delay in digital cameras, the delay between pushing the button and the picture actually being taken, sometimes your pictures are worthless. People move, the camera moves, everything changes. Sometimes, however, the picture works.

This button-push caught the last possible moment before the puck left the hand of the referee. This is a split-second of complete focus, of everything stopping and then exploding. I love how the attention of everyone, how the sticks and faces and hands and eyes of everyone are on that small cylinder of space, the tube of air through which the puck will drop.

I was talking today with someone who described conversations about changing names of spaces, of considering how to differently describe rooms. I said that it is interesting to look at points of conversation/conflict like that and try to understand why they become flashpoints. Why is it that what a room is called matters so much? Why is it that dropping a different name can trigger as much battle in a church as the puck causes in a hockey game?

Ahh. Do you see the problem in the last sentence? The puck causes nothing. And, in fact, the ref doesn’t cause the explosion by dropping the puck. What causes the explosion is that a culture has said, this counts as a job for the players. A culture has said, this counts as fun for spectators. A culture has said, whatever happens out there, in the real world where cars catch fire and people die and babies are born and lives are changed, is suspended while we care deeply about what happens in the next split-second.

The same thing is true about the names of the rooms. Calling something a church or a church building or a worship center or a hospital or a cathedral or a chapel or a rest area or a sanctuary or a waste of time and money or a home reflects a set of rules and agreements and experiences. Whatever we call it, we have to consider the experiences of others.

And so, as attention is focused with great intensity, as words are dropped and as relational explosions happen, freeze time if you can. Look at the picture. And then, if it matters, if this really matters, play on. but remember, life can change…

…a split-second later.