Thursday, June 12, 2008

Graphs, Gumpas, and God

Some people and churches have a tendency to create programs, develop methods, and engineer efforts. We want results--tangible, measurable, results that have been anticipated by statistics, graphs, presentations, and committees.

In this we are in some ways like Governor Gumpas in The Voyage of the 'Dawn Treader', the third book published in C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia. Gumpas has established economic prosperity largely as a result of the slave trade. When confronted by someone who challenges the morality of slavery, Gumpas does not understand. So long as his statistics and graphs are in order, he is satisfied.

Like Gumpas, we often proceed with plans based on our statistics and graphs, which are not necessarily bad in and of themselves, but in the process are the power of God and his plans sometimes overlooked? Our statistics and graphs need not be literal, but metaphorical, suggestive of our supposed ability to get things done on our own, without real consideration of God's will.

"But we have statistics and graphs!" "That is fine," God replies, "But why did you not approach me? I would have offered you helpful suggestions and provided some ideas of my own ... if only you'd asked. Now you've gone and made a mess of things."

I have been a Gumpas. I have my statistics, my graphs, my particular approaches and strategies, ideas about plans for my future. Did I stop to seek God? Does all my planning, in the end, matter much if it is not in line with God's "good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:2)?

God save us from the likes of Gumpas.

1 comment:

Video Game Philosopher said...

90% of statistics can be made to say anything, 50% of the time...

Or something like that.