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Richard Fowler
The Overview Effect
by Richard Fowler

The Overview EffectHello,

They call it the Overview Effect.

It’s a phrase used by astronauts for the shift in awareness when, from space, you come face to face with our beautiful earth.

It changes you,” was the effect on Scott Kelly, an American astronaut, who has just come back from the International Space Station. And he should know: he spent nearly a year up there, beholding the beauty of a boundaryless earth.

Through this privileged orbital perspective, he explained that he saw the earth “very peaceful looking…but often not.” And this weekend, the often not peaceful weighs heavy on our minds as we remember the pain, loss and sacrifice that war brings.

As he explained how his 340 days in space made him more “empathetic to the human condition”, I wondered if fewer wars would have been fought if national leaders could have experienced this overview effect? However, unfortunately, not all of us can make it to space.

So, are we without an overview effect? To change us, that is.

Not entirely.

There is an overview that can change us. Where we don’t see boundaries that divide, nor pride that puffs up, but a view that gives us new eyes of awareness.

It is a view found in Jesus. As we look to him, our view of humanity changes. Why? Because “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus”. Galatians 3:28 NIV

Simply put, our true, new condition is found in our relationship with Jesus. And from this relationship, our overview of humanity changes as we treat others as Jesus treats us: with oneness.

An overview informed not from space, but from grace.

Best regards,
Richard Fowler

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