First Impressions

Think about this quote from a book called The Charisma Myth:

Once you’ve made a favorable first impression on someone, it will color the rest of the relationship. This is because, as economist John Kenneth Galbraith believes, we seek to reaffirm our first impressions rather than revise them.

Did you catch that? We seek to reaffirm our first impressions rather than revise them.

I think that’s exactly what is happening within the Adventist church right now. Members have a positive first impression of the church (often grafted onto them from a previous generation) and refuse to see the organization in a negative light—no matter how slight.

From Wikipedia:

The boiling frog story is a widespread anecdote describing a frog slowly being boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is placed in boiling water, it will jump out, but if it is placed in cold water that is slowly heated, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to significant changes that occur gradually, such as climate change.

We’ve all heard about the boiling frog. The frog gets a good first impression and meets a bad end. It’s the same with church members.

We got a good impression about how effective the church infrastructure and strategies were over a century ago. But slowly the world changed the denomination didn’t notice.

From that same article:

An 1872 experiment demonstrated that a normal frog would not attempt to escape if the water was heated slowly enough…

I guess I’m not a normal frog.

Yes, the Adventist denomination has done some incredible things over the years. But anyone who has ever driven a car knows that one take of gas isn’t going to last forever… you’ve got to fill up again or you’re going to stall out. And if the church waits another century to fill up it’s tank it may find a world without gas stations where electric cars and fuel cells are the norm.

That is why a quick and dramatic change in circumstances is most conducive to revolution: there’s a shock and an immediate contrast.

Well, frogs, I think you might be shocked if you hopped out of the pot and checked the temperature. Because you might not get much more of a shock than this here blog.

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