Eliza and I were out for our walk this morning. The wind felt blustery, especially each time we turned toward the north. About half a mile into our walk I thought I would begin to welcome Eliza into the world of the “wind-chill-factor.” I did this by telling her that “sometimes it feels colder than it is.”
I quickly decided that was a stupid, nonsensical sentence. What was that teaching little E?
Wind chill does not make it feel colder than it is; wind chill makes it feel exactly as cold as it is. The number a thermometer gives you, by comparison, may as well be lying. Or at least misleading. Forty degrees with a calm southerly breeze feels nothing like forty degrees with a gusty north wind. What difference does it make that the temperature is in some technical sense the same?
What matters more than temperature is actual coldness. Temperature doesn’t determine coldness, but rather only gives part of the story. For the full story, much more must be taken into consideration.
We (some of us, anyway) too often and too easily get caught making judgement on “facts” such as temperature without getting the whole story. (Here is another part of the story of our walk this morning; we left the house at 6:20, so it was still dark. Darkness makes the cold colder, too.)
Last week I was discussing an “objective” description of something with someone, and came upon this nugget of insight: “If you are trying to eb objective, you are not being incarnate.” Followers of Jesus, it seems to me, must always choose incarnation over objectivity.