Hello, and welcome back to the Chaplain’s Corner. July 2011… only 16 more months! I only hope this country lasts that long. I have to wonder: “What part of ‘NO’ don’t Senators understand?” And of course, too, when you read the headlines on Drudge, you keep seeing things proposed and pending that are straight out of the Book of Revelation. But that’s a sermon for another day. (I heard someone over there say “whew!”)
Hmmm….lawnmowers last month, scanners this… I guess to put it in Dr. Seuss lingo: “from there to here, from here to there, object lessons are everywhere.”
The Scanner – sounds like a book or movie title doesn’t it? Well, I’d best not stretch this to book-length or I’ll put some folks to sleep. My little illustration this time isn’t a police scanner or a bar code reader. In this day of computer-literacy probably most of you are familiar with, at least conceptually, the desktop scanners that are hooked to computers to “scan in” hardcopy documents and photos and the like. That’s the type of scanner I want to draw your attention to. I’d hold mine up so you could see, but… So I’ll just have to describe as best I can. It’s basically a thin plastic box that has a scanning carriage like a Xerox machine that moves the length of the “scanning bed” (a long rectangular piece of glass or clear plastic).
I have had an “ancient” Hewlett-Packard table-top scanner for nearly 15 years now. I got it waaaay back when “Dr. Daughter” was still in high school. For the last couple of years now it hasn’t cooperated when I’ve tried to use it. Usually when I’d boot up the computer I would hear it make sounds like it was initializing, but it wouldn’t scan. I never expended much time in trying to figure out why. This weekend, Dr. Daughter needed to scan some documents to be emailed and … right… it still didn’t work. I tried everything I knew. I fiddled with settings. I changed USB ports. I changed user profiles. I hooked it to the OLD computer. Nothing. It would make the expected initialization sounds, Windows XP would find it… I repeatedly uninstalled and reinstalled the software… but still NOTHING! AARRGHH!
That evening after I got off duty, I thought “there’s got to be something simple,” so I tried one more time. This time I started experimenting with the scanner itself. And I discovered that the computer WAS talking to the scanner and the scanner WAS talking to the computer, but the carriage wasn’t moving. Ah Ha! (Did I tell you I was in data processing for over 20 years? I can fix this!) Well, I grabbed my trusty screwdriver and took the cover off of the scanner and found I could reposition the carriage by hand.
After moving the carriage I’d try to use the scanner; the carriage would return to the “start” position and just “bounce in place.”
OK, so what do I make of all that? Several things.
1. Well, if we think of the whole scanner/PC “picture,” then it could be an illustration of something being wrong in our lives; but not understanding where the problem is, we try all sorts of different things (read: drugs, alcohol, sex) to “fix” it. The more it doesn’t work, the harder and faster we try the same things hoping for a different result. We keep getting the same results because the problem is in the “scanner” (our innermost being) not the “computer” (our relationship with God and others). We, as humans, seem to have a built-in aversion to admitting that something inside us isn’t what it could/should be.
2. The problem is not something visible. When I looked the scanner over, it looked like everything was good. We look in the mirror and we tend to only see what’s reflected. Taking the time to “loosen the screws” and look deeper for the problem isn’t necessarily something we want to do, but it is necessary to locate the problem.
3. Changing “positions” won’t fix the problem, because the problem is elsewhere. You know, you can go to church somewhere and sit there in the pew and think that just because you’re there, the problem will automatically be fixed. No…when you get up and walk outside, you simply “reset” and the problem remains because you still haven’t identified the problem.
4. It takes an expert to fix some things, but the expert can’t fix what I don’t take to him. There was a time when things in my life were not right, but I realized I couldn’t fix them. I found out that God could, but only if I let Him have a hand in my life.
5. Sometimes things require replacing. Sometimes we need a “change of heart” – a fresh start. God offers us that chance. If we will recognize that we have a “heart problem” and go to God and confess; ask forgiveness; ask for a fresh start, He’ll be glad to do that for us.
Let me take us to The Book to rephrase point 5: If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us. (1 John 1:8-10)
Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Uh Oh… I’m getting long-winded again, so I’d better wrap this up by simply referring you to Psalm 51 in the Old Testament to see how King David “fixed things.”
Hey, thanks for listening. I hope you have a great shift. Until next time: Blessings to you and yours.
Chaplain Bill firstname.lastname@example.org