Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, the only man to hold that position twice, wrote a book several years ago titled “Known and Unknown.” In this book he speaks of several types of problems or issues and the way he saw them from his vantage point. The first are things that you know you know. These are things like current obvious treats or various situations where all of the information is available. Then there are things that are known unknowns. This covers the things we realize we don’t know such as when the next terrorist attack or roadside bomb will happen. But a third category is also listed and that is the things we don’t realize we don’t know; the unknown unknowns. There is no way to categorize the topics in this arena because we don’t have information on them and we are naïve of our lack of specifics because they are “unknown” to us. In this category we are often blissfully unaware and surprising clam in our ignorance.
Which one of these categories does our city fall into for you? Let me explain.
Do you know the physical, economic and spiritual needs the people in this city have or does that fall into the “unknown unknowns” category of your life? Or maybe you’re aware of your lack of information in this area yet you are ok with that absence?
What would you do if you were the Secretary of Defense for a day and you knew a bomb was heading for the Triad area that would wipe us all out? Most all of us would try and stop it or we’d find bomb shelters and evacuate as many as we could. Well, there are bombs going off in people’s lives every day around us in the form of hardships, discouragement, addiction, and hopelessness and they affect people just as much as real bombs- but we can do something about it!
We can seek to be involved in the lives of those around us at our jobs, our schools, our living areas and also seek out the lives of those on the fringes: the homeless, the orphans, the prisoners, the single mothers, the refugees. We can do this by knowing about the needs, by hearing about the “bombs” and acting on them.
Every year more children enter North Carolina’s Foster Care system than the entire student body at High Point University.
As of yesterday there were as many people in prison throughout the state as there are in our largest university- that’s the population of NC State in jail.
Throughout North Carolina an abortion takes place every 17 minutes.
High Point alone resettles, on average, more than one refugee each day of the week.
These are the things we know. What are we doing about these things and what are we doing to decrease our area of “unknown unknowns” for the kingdom here around us? Each one of us needs to be tuned into the Holy Spirit and what He is calling us to in order to be an effective body of Christ here in the Triad.
Written by: Andy Smith (Community Missions)