It’s been a really hard week. Things have been said and implications made that gurgle in my soul like bad food in my belly and the bitter taste in my mouth that no amount of tooth-brushing can drive away.

Way more than my all-encompassing phrase Aren’t-people-funny? can touch. But honestly that’s the best response I can come up with in order to force myself beyond the hurt. Aren’t people funny? Saying it over and over helps me to forgive.

And then I watched The Big Bang Theory last night… Sheldon and Leonard met one of their childhood idols… Professor Proton! It was a great funny episode. I just think those screenwriters are about brilliant.

Science Nerd Emerges from Hiding

Every time I watch that show I reconnect with the science nerd in me. And while some people label me as strategic, I think it’s just the Spock-logical side of my brain that they see kicking into gear. Which is actually not something that you witness very often in Catholic-ministry-world. Not a whole lot of scientists leave science and go into ministry. A few… but not a lot. [I guess that makes us an anomaly.]

As I’ve been wrestling with the challenges of the week, wondering what / if there has been purpose in this journey of late, I began thinking about science experiments. Professor Proton did the classic physics / chemistry test on television last night to see whether the egg drops through the small mouth of the bottle. [Google it to find out how a burning candle creates enough air pressure to suck it in!]

One Big Experiment

This has been one long 24-year experiment!

Here’s the Scientific Method in a nutshell… just in case you forgot:

  1. Hypothesis
  2. Testing
  3. Data Analysis
  4. Conclusion

Captain Kirk was one of my childhood idols!

I stepped into the ministry world 24 years ago. I didn’t realize it at the time, but it is every bit as unique as Comic-Con or a Trekkie convention.

Hypothesis: If I surrender myself and let God use my gifts and talents, can we actually change the world for good?

Testing: Research methods employed will be one-on-one / small groups / large groups / clergy and lay people / local and national circles across all types of subject matter. In short, highly varied and extremely unpredictable. Research phase to be no less than 5 years. [That was the original commitment we made when we left corporate-world to go to Catholic-world.]

Data Analysis: Ongoing. The experiment is now in Phase 4 of data collection with only a few weeks remaining.

Conclusion: Early indicators are proving the hypothesis to be true on all counts with several unanticipated corollaries.

Can we actually change the world for good? The bottom line answer is: Yes. However, these caveats apply:

Every skill / talent / piece of knowledge and trivia / understanding / insight / hat you’ve ever worn will be required to complete even the simplest task. You must give freely.

You will be challenged and maximumly stretched farther than you could have ever imagined… significantly out of your your safety zone and comfort zone. You will not return to your original shape; there will be stretch marks.

More times than not, people will not understand you or what you are doing. Sometimes, they won’t be ready to receive you or the gifts you have to give them. Even the ones who think they “get it”, likely don’t… they don’t know that they don’t know. And you’ll have to just keep doing what you’re doing hoping that they will eventually understand who you were and what you offered at the time.

For Love of the Theory

The experiment only works if you go into it for the love of testing the theory… because there are no immediate rewards or visible results. It is truly all about planting the seeds and patiently waiting in the field to see sprouts coming up in the dirt. And yes, it is dirt… muddy / sticky / bad-smelling muck.

My experiment is almost completed. I’ve got another one on the drawing board that I’m eager to start. I’m on the Road-to-Awesome!

[Read Jon Acuff’s new book: Start.]


About Elaine Menardi

Heading off on a new adventure! I solve problems and make ideas happen.

2 responses »

  1. Ronald of Richmond says:

    Did you forget about the kids that were touched in those twenty four years? There are many more than you and JD can even count that have been nurtured by the love and guidance of faith teachings you provided. Their lives are a testimony to the success of the experiment. You will continue to hear from them as they grow and mature. But you know compliments from teenagers don’t occur till later in their lives.

    •’s so fun to see those sprout and they help remind me that all the work has been productive and worthwhile. It’s so much easier to work with teenagers than adults sometimes 🙂

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