Sunday, August 25, 2013

The area of a circle is pi times the radius, squared. This is read, while written in mathematical notation, “Pi R squared,” which then leads to the old joke, “Pie are not squared; pie are round!”

While helping my daughter with her math this week, the joke kept coming to mind, which then led to musings about the simple ways we often misconstrue what people say—as if people of the same ethnicity were speaking a different language from each other. “Pi” to the analytical is a mathematical term, very useful for figuring out things like the area of a circle (so you know, for instance, how much fabric to buy for a tablecloth) or the circumference of a circle (how much braided trim is needed to edge said tablecloth). “Pie” to the creative is a culinary delight with a flaky baked crust and your choice of creamy or fruity fillings. I daresay the analytical types appreciate their share of pie, while the creative types would appreciate pi’s benefits even as they twitch at the thought of doing algebra and geometry.

I’m a good bit of both, and something of a peacemaker, so I wasted a minute or two trying to figure out how pie could be made square. A brownie dish ... the crust would bunch in the corners, of course, which leads to waste ... yes, I decided, round pie is the most efficient way.

In the meantime, my creative daughter needed to learn the ways of pi.

Within the church, how often does this happen? “Pi R squared,” says the analytical, geeking out over some arcane bit of theology. “Pie are not squared; pie are round,” retorts those who see no use in the study of the obscure. Who’s right?

Well, they both are.

The same God who set in place the mathematically intricate and precise workings of the universe made it possible to place sugar and berries and a thickener inside two layers of dough, bake it, and enjoy a dessert so scrumptious my mouth is watering just thinking about it. He also made it possible to figure out how much area one of those layers might cover, if we’re so inclined.

So why do we insist on bickering over details that are opposite sides of the same coin, or a matter of differing terminology? The math people appreciate the efforts of the culinary experts, and the culinary geeks definitely appreciate the advantage of math when it comes to duplicating spectacular results in their baking.

We need each other.

There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all...

12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.

15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,” is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? 18 But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. 19 And if they were all one member, where would the body be?

20 But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. 21 And the eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you”; nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.”

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and members individually. (1 Corinthians 12, NKJV)


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