THE UNIVERSAL PRESENCE
I had an opportunity early in my professional career to earn a commission and serve in the United States Navy. I was an officer of the deck (OOD,) a “ship driver” on a nuclear powered guided missile cruiser. Having “the deck” of a warship is one of the greatest thrills you can have this side of heaven, it is a rush. There is a “lessons learned” case history and training video that is required of every aspiring OOD. It is a re-enactment of the performance of the bridge crew prior to a disastrous -collision at sea. The OOD is responsible for supervising a maneuvering board (Mo- board,) or graphical calculation of course, speed and closest point of approach (CPA) with other ships in the formation. Many errors are made to lead to disaster, but all alone are recoverable. At the critical point in the video where their fate is sealed the OOD is heard to say:
“This looks to close for a mo board, I’m going to have to eyeball it.”
Large ships turn, speed up and respond very slowly—the eye is easily deceived. There are times where you need to trust your math and not your eyes, as your eyes will tell you of trouble far too late. As you might expect, this “going to have to eyeball it” line sticks with the community of OOD’s: we use it as a verbal cattle prod— as a sarcastic way to chide a junior officer into looking at his indications and not just how things may look on the surface. To be a good OOD you must be “other-worldly” you must reject the reality of what your eyes are telling you and go with — the math, the mo board, the indications of your instruments created just for that purpose. Airplane pilots can tell the same story, of how vertigo can fool your senses and how you must use your instruments to “apprehend reality.”
Every community of professionals I have been part of has its own little story like this one. As a navy nuke we had one that is much harder to explain but the same thing “just throw water on it” Many operational problems with a nuclear reactor getting too hot can be made into disasters by throwing cold water on it–you can have a “cold water accident” and take a reactor “prompt critical”—the common sense thing to do disagrees with the math and the science.
Christians suffer from not using their instruments. They don’t experience the Universal Presence. They don’t read the Bible, they don’t pray—they don’t even study science and do the math! Watching the cascading errors in a naval tragedy develop is chilling, each step seems so logical but so wrong. It is a great analogy for watching lives fall apart of people who say “I can stop any time I want,” “It feels right,” and the most pious one “I just don’t feel called to do that…”
They listen to “mumbo jumbo” from other people who are eyeballing it.
Christians must be “other-worldly” and live in the presence. The thing that would be funny if it weren’t so tragic is that Christians will ignore their indications by saying they need to live in “the real world” and believe their senses and how it feels, when every profession in the world teaches you not to “eyeball it” and they are unlikely to eyeball it on their tasks at work
( Yep, the training video is available on you tube— https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb7f6c5BcK4#t=584 It is called “I relieve you Sir” )