Friday, February 15, 2008

The Responsibility of Understanding the Truth

I'm a production controller. That means I handle communications from Order Entry, Project Managers, Product Engineering and Master Scheduling and plan the resources of my plant to produce what is needed to fill the orders. If it sounds boring, it is.

One of the many things I do is provide feedback on the quality of information I receive. For example, Product Engineering provides drawings, creates the bills of material and the order details. Our Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) router operators use the drawings to program their routers to make necessary cutouts. It helps that I've worked in both Product Engineering and CNC Programming for the turret presses in another of our plants.

Our CNC router operators do a great job with no more training than they have considering that they have to program the machines on the fly. With this in mind, they require a certain balance between simplicity and detail to the drawings they receive. Having engineered the products and drafted their drawings, I know intimately what is required. The engineers have argued that the operators should be able to figure out what they need from the drawings. I argue that the engineers have a higher level of education than the operators and must draw according to the operators' ability to understand.

I have three kids aged 11, 9 and 4. When my oldest was 4, he was still learning to tie his shoes. I had to do it for him. He could get his shoes on, but couldn't tie them yet. Now, he ties his shoes just fine. My current 4-year-old can't tie his shoes. When we are going out the door, I tell my 11-year-old to put his shoes on and get in the van and he does it. I can even tell him to tie the shoes of his little brother. What I don't do is tell my 4-year-old to tie his own shoes. I'm going to make sure that he's not left behind just because he can't tie his own shoes.

I believe the Bible when it says that God is unchanging. There are infants in the faith that cannot handle this truth yet. I have to ask myself why God has inspired the human writers of the Bible to anthropomorphize Him from time to time as though He changes His mind. The reason is that He fully understand that different Christians are at different places on the long path to spiritual maturity and understanding. How does a young believer think to pray to a God who will not change? Nevertheless as he learns who God is and how to approach God for effectual prayer, he can be challenged with greater and more difficult truths and doctrines.

Here is the challenge for those who would instruct the young in faith. We must be willing to work with someone where they are and vie to improve their understanding as they mature. The level of discourse of some Christians who seek to provide a sure apologetic would poison the faith of those whose faith is weak by requiring them to tie their theological shoes before they are able. We must be careful not to do this. All of us were young once. Just like it is incumbent on my engineers to draw for the level of understanding of the operators, it is incumbent on the Christians with stronger faith to deal theologically with those who are weaker on a level they can understand in order to strengthen them over time.

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Anonymous Lionel Woods said...

How true this is brother. I hope the family is well brother. I am going to have to get you, SJ from a Lion has Roared and Tyris all on the phone just to build one another up. Iknow you have a bagging community there, but your graciousness could be a blessing here in Texas (via phone anyway).

Sun Feb 17, 09:34:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Jim Pemberton said...

Thanks, brother Lionel! I'm humbled that you would consider me worthy of such a group, and I'm not trying to have false humility: I have strengths and weaknesses and know my weaknesses all too well. I don't share my home e-mail online, but I have a "junk" account that I don't mind exposing to the spam bots. If you want to pass information to get together, feel free to e-mail me at

The family is doing well. They're in Alabama right now with our missionary from Venezuela and are headed back here to NC tomorrow. It's been a lonely Sunday with them gone, but it was good to worship and learn with my fellow Christians at church.

Sun Feb 17, 01:43:00 PM GMT-5  

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