In case you missed the latest news in particle physics, the Argonne National Laboratories in Batavia, Illinois, announced last week that they had once again verified, this time more accurately, the errant behavior of a muon, a sub-atomic particle valuable in understanding the Standard Model of Physics. For the scintilla of a second it flashed into sight, the thing wobbled! According to the Standard Model, this was not supposed to happen. In fact, the muon’s conduct may call into question the Model itself, with possible implications for cosmology’s Big Bang theory. In short, this miniscule particle’s movement in that tiny moment might signal again how much there is still to learn about the foundations of physics. (For example, the nature of gravity or dark energy! Or are there some other, perhaps-unknown forces acting invisibly to influence our world?)
This got me to thinking, not just about the wider implications of this scientific discovery, but also about its possible parallels in the rest of our lives. What might be the incredibly small, muon-like forces or events in our lives that call into question much of what we’ve accepted as true and actionable?
I work in the ecclesiastical universe, so I immediately wandered into places where our models/assumptions about “church” might be open to large-scale revision. (Stewardship and evangelism come to mind.) What hardly visible events or elements of our life together might call into question what we have trusted to comprise the Standard Model of the Church? Who or what are our muons?
Closer to home: Perhaps some of us are like that tiny piece of matter, vibrating in new and prescient ways to invite a rethinking or reshaping of the worlds around us. Maybe we’re small-but-useful predictors of something new and different—small-but-important influencers of the future.
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