Another one of the enormous privileges of serving the Church is the opportunity to meet amazing human beings like Dr. Christine Darden. She is among the second generation of Hidden Figures and – like Dr. Katherine Johnson – a Presbyterian Christian. In fact, they used to sing in the same church choir.
[This is a gentle reminder that being a scientist and a person of faith are not mutually exclusive.]
Dr. Darden’s special interest is sonic booms and when she spoke to a packed chapel at Columbia Theological Seminary last week about vapor cones and pressure waves, there were moments when our theologically-trained eyes glazed over. The woman is clearly brilliant. Among the things I understood about her presentation is that a sonic boom results when shock waves form a cone of sound after an object has moved through the air faster than the speed of sound. The pressure has to go somewhere so: Boom.
We – meaning the world, the culture, the Church – are experiencing a series of sonic booms. There are shock waves jolting our lives every day. And then there’s a boom. Every day.
Sometimes the shocks are personal: betrayals and losses. Sometimes they are political: executive orders and random tweets. Sometimes they are spiritual: holy disappointments and divine silence.
But there is hope. There is always hope. Someone is alive right now that knows more than we do about sonic booms and how to minimize them for the sake of the people. Dr. Christine Darden has done this. Others are stepping up to address those figurative kinds of sonic booms.
A note about protests: they are important tools for gathering steam and building energy, but the shock waves and sonic booms of these days require additional research and actions. I loved this article in The Washington Post about the concrete steps people are taking after the protests.
The world feels shaky to many of us. But if you are feeling even a little steady, please step up. Be the Christine Darden of refugee work, immigrant rights, LGBTQ justice, anti-racism training, anti-hunger work. The Spirit is leading us.
We are called to be the healthy Church.