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Correction lines and correction times

I learned a new term when receiving directions to get somewhere here in Southern Alberta. I like learning new things!

In those instructions I was told that Highway 519 was a “correction road.” Not being from these parts I wondered what that meant. Was the litter along the road picked up by people incarcerated with Corrections Canada? Did it lead to a jail? Why that name? I was told — but it took me some time to make the connection with the name “correction” — that the cross roads for 519 will be staggered. Corrections causing staggering? It was all so puzzling. I soon forgot the term, but remembered the effect.

But then it began to dawn on me that there might be a lesson, a paralel in this that could be useful. And when something is both interesting and has the potential to be useful, I study up on it more. So I asked the source (Vaughn S.) to remind me what this staggering around a road was called and what it was all about.

Here is part of his reply: “Correction lines or correction roads are made because the farm land is surveyed in square plots or sections.  The land is surveyed in squares but the world isn’t a square.”

So what it comes down to is that adjustments or corrections need to be made to fit a square, mathematical grid on a round globe following meridian lines that come closer together as they get near the north pole. Fascinating! I had never known or thought of that before.

Correction line map

It is fun to try imagine what things would look like if the surveyors had been stubborn and insisted on carrying on with a square grid on a round planet. I can’t quite picture it. I can see that the roads would all be nice and straight, and no intersections would be staggered. But somewhere on that map, probably further north, or East, or West, there would have been huge problems.

But what is even more interesting is how much this idea of a correction line is very similar to what the work of a Specialized Transitional Minister is like. Almost all church gatherings develop their own ‘grid’ for doing things. They think they are ‘on track’ in those ways of doing church. But real life is not neat and square. Real life has hills and valleys and is not flat. It throws curves at us. And as we travel, the grid we have been using no longer fits. The church grid you use in Nobleford CRC is as normal to you as it is normal to you that the cross roads on 519 are staggered. But for someone like me, that was something odd that caught my attention, and caused me to explore what the purpose of that was. Well the same is true of things you do as church. Outsiders see things that don’t quite line up much easier than you who have been here all your lives. There are things you do that are completely normal to you, but are part of a grid that no longer works effectively for God’s Kingdom purposes. So my job is to be curious, to ask questions, and, if something does not make sense to try to help you see that. You might stagger for a bit under how disorienting it is to have familiar things questioned. But you also then have an opportunity to recognize the grid needs adjustment, and to act on that.

So, a church in a town along a correction line, is in a correction time.

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeff
    Jun 18, 2013 @ 11:52:05

    Thank you for the .pdf

    Reply

    • pastorpete
      Jun 18, 2013 @ 13:21:58

      You and others are welcome Jeff. I realized it was a sensible step to take in order to make it as likely as possible that as many as possible get access to the ideas and observations I am sharing that are very important to my work here. Over time I will make each page available as a pdf. I just didn’t have time to do them all in one day/week.

      Reply

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