By Ron Wood
The Meridian Star
A Flight Simulator is an airplane cockpit built inside a hangar. It never leaves the ground. But it provides new pilots with most of the experience a trainee needs. The novice pilot will crash make-believe planes and kill imaginary passengers in the course of training so that in a real airplane, he or she will learn to avoid danger or know how to handle a crisis.
A veteran pilot once told me, “There are old pilots; there are bold pilots; but there are no old, bold pilots.” Whenever I fly, I want my pilot to be thoroughly trained, don’t you? Captain Sully, who landed on the Hudson River with no loss of life, pulled it off because of his extensive training and his decades of experience.
Young pilots are usually paired with experienced pilots (or they should be) so that the person with real-life experience has gray hair and caution that comes from wisdom. No rookie jet-jockeys are allowed in the captain’s seat. “I believe I can fly” is only a feel-good song but gravity is a real drop-dead force.
There is no substitute for years of on-the-job experience. This is why physicians are required to go through rigorous internship programs under the strict tutelage of an experienced physician in a teaching hospital. We’re better off for it. How would you like to have your heart surgeon say, “I’ve always wanted to try that!” or hear your brain surgeon say, “Oops- that wasn’t supposed to happen.”
I think there should be similar requirements for elected office holders or government department heads. Any politician who is put into a place of responsibility ought to first have proven — in a lesser job, task, field, position, or tour of duty – that they are capable of carrying out that work and worthy of our trust.
The real world of private business sifts out capable people. Losers get fired or else run their company into the ground. Winners make profits and hire more workers. It’s good for everybody. This is called capitalism or free-market enterprise.
Even the religious world sometimes behaves like we are all in a Flight Simulator. It takes off, it soars, it has wonderful bells and whistles, but it never leaves the ground. Practical discipleship seems to be the last thing on our list of church stuff.
The Bible is filled with notions of hard work, respect, ownership, inheritance, personal responsibility and stewardship. Most of the parables of Jesus were about practical things, like money. Paul said three times as much about money as he did about love (1 Cor. 13 versus 2 Cor. 8-9). Wisdom bears fruit in real life.
I ran across these statistics about Presidents and their Cabinet Members with private-sector experience — the arena where we learn wisdom. Just to list a few: Reagan- 56 percent; GH Bush-51percent; Clinton-39 percent; GW Bush- 55 percent; Obama- 8 percent. People surrounding the President should not be enjoying their highest-paying job ever.
I bet right now The White House wishes they had kept their healthcare/wealth - redistribution policy wonks training in their socialist Flight Simulator a little bit longer. They certainly don’t behave like they ever had any real-life experience.
Of course, some of our liberal seminaries are doing the same thing: turning out philosophical eggheads who don’t believe the Bible; can’t walk by faith; and don’t have enough power to deliver a turnip much less defeat the devil.
Ron Wood is pastor of Trinity Assembly of God on Chandler Road. 601-483-8189. trinitymeridian.com. Ron hosts “The Father’s Power” at 8 a.m. Sunday on 103.3 FM.