Accident Scenes

I witnessed a terrible accident last night. It was really dark and a pedestrian was hit by a car overtaking our public bus. The guy was still alive when the ambulance took him but i have been praying for him all today. The bus driver was really shaken up and i think God had me there at the scene to be a source of comfort to him. The ticket lady at the terminal let me tell my story to her – she became my minister. we all minister to each other.

By reading these words, you are ministering to me.

Accident scenes witness the amazing self-organisation of emergent theory. A group of strangers become an instant team of helpers,  suddenly collaborating, stepping in to lead with giftedness and talents, stepping back when not needed. One knows first aid. Another stops traffic. One calls the ambulance [that was me] No one under orders and yet order emerges within seconds. Its a frightful, horrible, terrible thing to be at the scene of an accident like this and I wish it on nobody. And yet it is moments like these when people become their best and the human community under God finds wind, finds love, justice, hospitality, selfless giving, and acts like the community that God desires.


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • how fleeting those moments are
    it is probably a good thing
    beauty is so shocking sometimes
    your post inspired me to pray

  • This really resonates with me. When we wrecked back in January, this was the same scene. We rolled our car and ended up on the passengers side of the car. My friend was immediately out of the car and on his cell phone with 911. I was able to climb up on the top of the car to open my wife’s door only to need to return back into the car to undo my 2 month old son’s seatbelt. A stranger stopped and let Kelly and Aidan sit in their car until the sherrif arrived. People at the truck stop where they dropped us off at gave us free food.
    Each according to their gifts.
    I am praying for the healing of your heart today and the healing of everyone else who was involved.

  • There is a principle in Physics which has ’emerged” fairly recently called self organizing criticality. If you google it you might find some interesting parallels.

  • These things can happen so suddenly. And now, as Zondervan’s myspace reports, Rob Lacey has passed away. Here’s what they say:
    Rob Lacey 1962 – 2006
    Rob Lacey, 43, husband, father, actor and award-winning author, lost his courageous battle with cancer Monday, May 1. He is survived by his wife, Sandra Harnisch-Lacey, and his two young children, Lukas (2) and Magdalena (3 weeks).
    Lacey is best known for the word on the street (originally published as the street bible in the UK) a vivid retelling of the entire Bible in modern British street English, which was honored with the Book of the Year in 2004 by the Christian Booksellers Convention in the UK. Additionally, Borders named the word on the street to its 2004 list of best books in Religion and Spirituality. During the writing of the book in 2000, Rob was diagnosed a second time with advanced bladder cancer. He wrote the paraphrase of the book of Job for the word on the street in the midst of agonizing cancer treatments. Miraculously, in 2002, his cancer went into remission but unfortunately resurfaced late last year.
    Rob’s innovative approach and contagious energy, both through his books and his performance art, engaged a new generation, providing a fresh experience with Gods Word, said Doug Lockhart, Zondervan president and CEO. We are saddened at the loss of our dear friend and colleague but honored to have been a part of Robs legacy, which has touched so many lives.
    Rob brought his innovative storytelling and performance art to the Christian Booksellers Convention in 2004 and to more than 200,000 people during his tour that same year. After taking a university degree in economics, Lacey trained at the Desmond Jones School of Mime and Physical Theater and was a founding member of the Trapdoor Theatre Company. Along with his wife, Sandra, he founded and was co-artistic director of The Gate Arts and Training Center in Cardiff, Wales.
    In addition to the word on the street, Lacey is author of the just-released the liberator (Zondervan, March 2006), a paraphrase of the Gospels, as well as The Poisoned Pool, a self-published graphic novel, and Are We Getting Through (Silverfish, 1999), a communication resource book.

  • How fragile life is and how we need to be ministers and to be ministered to .. I am glad you were able to tell your story- we need to be vulnerable- to tell our stories- it opens a door for people to open up and share their stories.
    I am grateful for Rob Laceys story and saddened that it ended so abruptly.
    I pray for you that you will be able to minister to others as you share.
    I pray for Robs wife and family that they too will be able to share their story in the days months and years to come- and I pray for ministers to hear them….

  • A few years ago I came upon a head-on collision between an elderly driver and a semi-truck. Immediately passersby took on important responsibilities – my EMT friend with me administered first aid and I directed traffic. In searching for a term to describe this kind of impromptu self-organization I came across the word “adhocracy” coined by Alvin Toffler, “that adhocracies will get more common and are likely to replace bureaucracy in the near future. He also wrote that they will most often come in form of a temporary structure, formed to resolve a given problem and dissolved afterwards.”
    After we carefully pulled the elderly gentleman from his car (lest it burst into flames) I noticed a large black bag in the back seat. It turned out that the bag contained $20,000 in cash. He was returning home from the bank and had just withdrawn the money. We handed it over to the police for safekeeping.
    After the traumatic ordeal it was hard to part from the other people who had also stopped to help. We were bound together in a kind of instant kinship and it seemed weird to part so quickly. I’ve always thought it’s interesting how complete strangers can instantly band togeter like that.

  • Not that I am uncaring about the accident, but I just wanted to ask: since what you describe is actually a Christian principle (the idea stems from a body), then why the need to add the “emergent” label to it? I know Christians who are not emergent that apply this theory to their own lives.

  • G’day Andrew,
    I’ve been enjoying your blog for a number of months now and then read your post today regarding your witnessing a pedestrian being knocked down.
    I am quite new to the whole “emergent church” thing and am busy investigating it and many other new expressions of church. While your post resonated with me because I too have found myself in situations like that in times past, I also couldn’t help but be distressed by a couple of comments you made that seemed to “join together” for me as I read them.
    You said “Accident scenes witness the amazing self-organisation of emergent theory” and I agree, I think. But what disturbed me was the realisation that, on the basis of your comment, much emergent theory may in fact be flawed because it so like what already exists in church.
    Allow me to illustrate.
    As I see it, one of the major issues with institutional and programatised church is the lack of real depth and authenticity in relationships. If the tragic circumstance you found yourself in can be likened to “emergent theory” then we may be in just as much trouble as we always were because one of the primary hallamrks of institutional church seems to be “function over fellowship”.
    What your circumstances said to me was that, while all these people came together (self-organised) for a greater cause and actually began to look and function like a microcosmic picture of church, when the function (the job, the work) was over, so too was the relationship, because undoubtedly these people all went their separate ways never to connect again.
    Surely at some point, the realisation of our need to elevate “fellowship over function” must come to the fore, where regardless of the job or the work, we are walking in genuine, authentic relationships of richness and depth .. community if you will.
    If “emergent theory” is indeed rooted in the kinds of networks that flow together for a task and then dissapate into sterile anonymity once again, then surely we are aiming to establish something of church that we already have .. just in a different skin?
    None of what I’ve said is in any way intended to be critical of you or of the emergent movement. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. I’m just trying to work this through in my thinking. But as these two concepts came together for me out of your simply blog post, I have been left asking myself whether, for all our talk and “new church” exploration, anything is really changing.

  • hi Andrew,
    I have prayed for you and the person who was injured. I have experienced firsthand several very bad accidents and also feel that God had me there for a reason. One was an accident in front of a store I worked at in Lawrence, Mass. Two elderly women were in a crash. they were sisters and I was able to comfort one as she was terribly distraught (she was driving) that her sister was hurt. It was clear that her sister was dead. I just held her as she sobbed as the ambulance and fire trucks arrived and of course I never saw her again.
    I am also reminded that every day there are small things that we say and do or do not say or do that affect the lives of those around us. We are not on an island, we are interacting and are going to be a positive or negative influence in the world whether we want to or not. I pray that I will be open to God to use for his purposes for a crisis or maybe just a word of kindness.

  • I just found out today what happend to Rob.
    I feel so sad and shocked. I try to get contakt to Rob end of 2005 cause I did a simular Projekt, a Bibel in a very young language, here in Germany, without knowing from eacht other. The “volxbibel” gots many critisism and I was hoping to get some encouragement from Rob. But now he is dead.
    He even seems to be in my age, what makes it even more close to me.
    His life brought up fruit, even not knowing, in Germany. The Volxbibel is still hot in diskussion and lifes are changed by it!
    thank you Rob, thank you Jesus.
    Yours Martin

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