Thursday, October 20, 2011

Where The Rubber Meets The Road...

...Or maybe "Where The Steel Meets The Dirt".

The picture over there is my father, probably taken in the late 40's or early 50's, and I'm guessing at the Mesabi Iron Ore Range in Minnesota. I believe I recall him telling me about that.

But first, a word of explanation. Dad attended Depauw University for 2 years, and got what we'd likely call an "Associates' Degree" in Metallurgy. He then got a job as a Stock Records Clerk, at Holiday Steel Warehouse in Indianapolis. Cutting to the chase, he became one of the nation's more respected experts in metallurgy, including teaching Metallurgy at the Purdue University Extension in Hammond, IN, during WWII.

One of the things that set him apart from some of the more "academic" metallurgists, I suppose, was his practical, in-the-field knowledge of metals. That's probably why they'd called him to the field to see the steam shovel bucket pictured here; I imagine there was some problem with it, cracks, excessive wear, or some such, requiring my dad's expertise.

I recall one time a customer of Holiday threatened to return an expensive shipment of steel because of alleged defects. The customer's metallurgist told the owner they couldn't properly heat-treat (harden) the steel to fit the specifications they'd furnished Holiday. Dad went to the site, got the owner, the metallurgist, their best welder, a garden hose, and a piece of the suspect steel and went to the driveway. Dad asked the welder to heat the steel until Dad recognized the proper heat level, and then played the hose stream on it. He then told the metallurgist to go test it for hardness.

The driveway-treated steel exceeded the specifications, and the owner reversed his stand. He also fired the metallurgist.

There was a lot of money involved!

Dad also related several other instances where his kind of "rubber-meets-the-road" expertise got both his employer, and many a customer, out of a real jam.


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On quite another front, we've been studying a new course written by Ken Hemphill, about Spiritual Gifts. The course centers around 1 Corinthians, and in chapters 12-13-14 of that book of the Bible, Paul spends considerable time correcting the thinking of the folks in Corinth, about Spiritual Gifts, and what it means to be a Spiritual person. And that's what sparked the idea in my (alleged) mind when I saw the photo up there. I see a lot of correct theology and sound Spiritual knowledge floating around the blogs, and in the SBC meetings I've been in, but a sadly large part of it seems to omit what Paul states is the real mark of the Spiritual man:

Love.

Paul pointed out in 1 Corinthians, that whatever He did was little better than pagan worship, if it wasn't done in love. But I see a lot of things around blogdom, and done at conventions, that don't seem to be expressions of one Christian's love for another. And wasn't that what Jesus said would be the "identifier" of His followers? His disciples?

I've been an observer of SBC goings-on for about 6 years now, and unless I'm wrong, far too much of what goes on isn't done in that spirit.

For us mortal humans, that sort of love is reckless behavior. It can cost us. It can make us look like fools. But I don't think that's supposed to be a criterion, is it?

We're going to be around a lot of followers of Jesus, when we're in heaven. It'd really be nice if all the ones we'd known here were ones we'd treated with the kind of love that Jesus referred to in His "new commandment", which He gave His disciples at what we refer to as the "Last Supper":


“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another".


"As I have loved you ..". Wow. That's a tall order, but I don't recall His telling us to do anything that He didn't .. and doesn't .. also enable us to do.

I recall my "Aunt Jessie" .. not really my Aunt, by the way .. who was perhaps the most loving lady I've ever met. The dominant picture of her, in my mind, as I think of her is of her, sitting in her overstuffed chair in her bedroom (she was a semi-invalid), reading her Bible and listening to the local Christian radio station in Indianapolis. She had the "Sallman Head" picture of Jesus on the wall, and a picture of one of the DJ's on the Christian station .. to whom she'd written .. on her nightstand. And I never ever heard her say an unkind or unloving word about anyone else.

Fine theology is a good thing, but if it doesn't affect us down where the rubber meets the road .. or where the steel meets the dirt .. then it's nothing more than the resounding gong that Paul so aptly described.

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