I am doing literature reviews for our upcoming research on Forgotten People (at the Salvation Army social policy unit) and just read this wee experiment, by Baumeister (rad name) that took some students and did a personality test on them and then told some they were going to lead lonely and alone lives in the future(future alones), and told the others that they were going to have a stable marriage and strong, long lasting friendships(future belongs). They then offered each participant a lottery “choose no 1 and theres a chance to win a lot of money, but if you loose- which is likely- you will have to listen to an awful screech for 3 min” the second option was explained as being low risk, with cash reward. They found that 60% future alones chose high risk, compared with 6% of the future belongs….
Its just a little experiment that joins a whole lot of research that asserts that socially excluded people are more likely to partake in selfdefeating behaviour- I.e, foolish risk.
Now, apart from this being a fascinating little snippet in terms of social exclusion stuff, it got me thinking about us non risky Jesus lovers…
Cos, see, surely, theoretically, this means that Christians, who ideally have lots of strong networks are less likely to “do” risk. …So while we are more likely to be protected- through accountability- from moral taboos- affairs etc- perhaps another consequence is the inability to Step out, live on the edge, spontaneously and in response to Gods voice?
I’m not saying we need to stop having friends (!) or step out of community, I just think it’s a reminder about the pressing danger of security and comfortably in compromising the ideal position of vulnerability that leads to a greater dependence on God… And it perhaps gives a sort of explanation as to why Great Radicals are often a bit socially inept/unnormal/reclusive…? I.e.. joan of arc- or even Bono (his #%@!* performance at the awards!!!) (Having said that perhaps its just a connection to their non-conformist aspect of their personality)
Whether or not the connection between social inclusion and low risk decision making is relevant to Christians, I am convinced that our mastering of risk management severely hampers the spreading of the kingdom….
What do you think?!