Time for me to confess. I have a problem. It is something that clearly does not bother lots of people, but causes me some angst.
The problem is keystone. Not the cops from the black and white movies. But the adjusting of video projectors so that the image on the screen has vertical sides instead of resembling a trapezoid. It’s called keystone because the shape is that of a keystone that you find at the top of an arch (or apparently above a door if you look at this picture). It happens when a projector is projecting at an angle rather than straight ahead.
Most video projectors have an adjustment that enables you to change the image so that what appears on the screen is an image with vertical sides. I find it frustrating when I see one where clearly that has not been done. Recently I have been in several different places where the keystone adjustment has not been done and have had to restrain myself from toddling over to the projector and making the adjustment myself. (I didn’t, but I did consider it – how sad is that?)
Of course adjusting the keystone setting on a projector means that the image that is projected is distorted. The projector is projecting a skewed image that appears rectangular on the screen.
I have been struggling to think of a spiritual application for this confession of mine. I wonder what is at the heart of my problem? I think it might come from my time working with the Baptist Union of Great Britain when we had people who know about these things telling us about good and bad presentation techniques. It has become important to me that what we present looks as good as it can and adjusting something as simple as keystone can help. And therein lies the application. We all want to project and present an image that is as good as possible.
We keystone ourselves. What we present to other people is a distorted image of the real us. We hide some of our pain, problems, concerns and so on behind an image that presents itself as ‘normal’, ‘correct’, ‘true’. We distort reality and project a neat rectangular image to others when they ask us how we are and respond, “Fine, thanks.” Or we adjust the image that we project so that it looks to others that everything is well with us and that we don’t have any problems.
And in doing so we are not fooling ourselves and we are not fooling God. What we are doing is keeping help at arm’s length rather than receiving what’s on offer. God’s Spirit ministers to us in our deepest places, but he also ministers to us through other people. If we project a perfect image they will never know and we may be preventing God from helping us. Showing others the real ‘us’ may make us vulnerable, it’s a risk. But is the keystone-adjusted image we project better than being helped?
Be blessed, be a blessing.