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Gorillas in the Midst
by Tom Goodman
September 29, 2010

Its midweek:  Have you seen the invisible gorilla yet?

In last Sunday's message, I showed a now-famous video created by two Harvard psychologists.  It presented a team in white T-shirts and a team in black T-shirts.  I asked you to count the number of times those in white passed the ball to each other.

Most of you got the number right -- and about half of you saw the gorilla!  In the midst of all the basketball passes, someone in a gorilla suit walked into the frame, beat its chest, and walked out.  In every setting where the video has been shown, about half saw the gorilla.  There's no accounting for age or gender or level of education:  Some see it, and some don't.

The point of the clip in a message on evangelism:  Opportunities for spiritual conversations show up in our lives all the time, and we often miss them.  We're too busy counting basketball passes.  Our whole focus is on getting through football practice or band practice or completing our school assignments.  Our whole focus is on our work obligations or meeting budget.  Our whole focus is on the fact that we don't feel well and the doctor hasn't quite figured out how to fix it.  We're just counting basketball passes; and right in the middle of it all, opportunities for natural spiritual conversations arise like a gorilla beating his chest, and we don't even notice.

So, have any gorillas appeared in your busy, distracted life this week?

How does the gorilla show up?  In one of his blog posts, Tim Chester said that everyone has their own version of the 'gospel' story:

Creation -- who I am or who I should be
Fall -- what's wrong with me and the world
Redemption -- what's the solution
Consummation -- what I hope for

I think he's right.  Whatever people hold as their ultimate value will follow this story line -- earth-care, fitness, politics, and so on.  "When we hear people expressing their version of creation, fall, redemption, or consummation, we can talk about the gospel story," Chester wrote.  "Talking about Jesus begins with listening to other people's stories and sharing our own story of Jesus."

Keep your eyes open for the "gorillas in the midst" this week!


You can review last Sunday's message at

Weblog:  Check out my blog, "Get Anchored," with its Links to Your World -- interesting and informative links, posted every Tuesday.

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