Written by Rev. Becky Brown
Have you ever played the Bacon game? And, no, I’m not talking about an eating contest at Pancake Day. But yes, that bacon was really good! Way back in the 1990s, someone at a party came up with a fun fact game that really took off. The creators must have been having a conversation about how many movies the actor Kevin Bacon was in, and subsequently, how many actors he must have a connection with. The theory was that the world is so small that any two people are 6 or fewer acquaintance connections apart. Therefore, you should be able to name any actor, and be able to connect them to Kevin Bacon within 6 connections. The goal was to see who could get to Bacon in the least amount of connections.
Edward Asner was in JFK (1991) with Kevin Bacon
I remember my friends playing this game and relishing in the success of being able to draw quick connections. I say my friends, because, I was awful at the game. I can’t remember actors’ names for the life of me. I can’t even remember the movies that I have seen. Ask Andy: I have, on more than one occasion, started a movie on Netflix – thinking that I haven’t seen it – enjoyed it, and then at the closing scene, realized that I have in actuality seen the movie before. It’s embarrassing. Especially when it’s a movie Andy and I have seen on a date in the theater. Let’s face it, we don’t have many movie dates these days….I should remember.
We love making connections, and we attempt to do so on a regular basis, especially in a small town like Waynesville. I’m sure this game was played over and over again in our gym over pancakes, bacon and sausage for 12 hours straight of breakfast greatness. It’s fun to find an acquaintance in common, because it fosters a unique and memorable connection. I’m far better at this game, mind you. It blows our minds when we have a shared experience wherein we realize how small the world really is. I think this is far more than a phenomenon. I don’t think it’s a coincidence.
Our human interconnectedness is true because we were all created by the same God, made in God’s image, and we are all loved and pursued by that incredible God. It’s not happenstance that we have moments that low our minds when we have shared experiences or know the same people. God is helping us to draw these connections because God desires for us to care for each and every one in God’s creation. We are all in God’s family, and we should celebrate this fact as much as we can.
Kevin Bacon couldn’t stand that this game was created using him at the center. He didn’t like all the attention on him, drawing connections to his prolific career in showbiz. In 2007, Bacon started a charity, sixdegrees.org. He didn’t want this game to just be about him. He wanted the idea of interconnectedness to have a purpose, and do something for the good of all. While this charity does not in any way posit any religious connections or motivation, I think it’s pledge is overwhelmingly Christian. It reads -
“I am six degrees or less from someone or something that really needs my help. I challenge myself to grow in empathy towards others. I challenge myself to grow in compassion. I challenge myself to spend time on something that needs assistance. I will leverage my resources, abilities or voice to be an actor of change. I pledge to make a positive impact this year by leveraging myself in whatever way I can, big or small. Together we can make a big difference.”
How can we celebrate our interconnectedness by making a difference in this world? If we are heeding the challenge this Lent to dive deeper into spiritual practices that shape our hearts and minds so that we may change the world with God’s grace, then how might this power of connection give us the fuel to do so?