Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Here's something I bet some of you don't know:

No part or component can be installed legally on an aircraft without the right paperwork that says it's approved for installation. That paperwork is called an FAA Form 8130-3. On that form, there's a block that gets filled in by the shop or factory that last had it. That block has only 5 acceptable entries: Tested, Inspected, Repaired, Overhauled, and New.

Part of our job is to find and remove Defective parts, and replace them with New, Inspected, Repaired, Tested, or Overhauled parts. It makes the plane safer, and everyone is happy.

I just saw an episode of Futurama where Bender the Robot realizes he was defective off the assembly line, and shouldn't even be. It was hilarious, but as is the case with most of Matt Groening's work, there was a touching undercurrent to the story as well. Bender calls the factory to tell them he's defective, and the factory sends out these robots to destroy him. Of course, at the last minute he gets away, and has no chance to confront the inspector who certified him off the line, the mysterious "Inspector 5."

In a perfect plane, defective parts are unacceptable. They need to be hunted down, removed, and replaced. Some people think the same thing about the world. Only instead of defective parts, they look for what they see as defective people. That list usually includes those who don't agree with them. So they see the crippled, the poor, the "morally questionable" and others as defective, and they, of course, have the right answer.

What they don't see, of course, is that they are defective themselves. They just can't help it. it's part of being human. But in the meantime, they do their best to convince those who've been deemed so, that it's God's fault that they're not right, imperfect, sinners. Defective.

Well, I'm not here this week to argue the value of defective people, and I'm also not here to explain why we're defective, every single one of us.

What I'm here to say this week, is that being defective isn't the end of the world. There are many defective people who didn't let it stand in the way of greatness. By now we all know Noah was a drunk, David was an adulterer, Paul was a murderer. Hemingway was heavy on drink, too. Kate Greenaway was depressive. George Washington, on order from the English Crown, decimated entire villages in the French-Indian war.

What many of us tend to do is to brand ourselves as Defective. I'm too fat. I'm too thin. I'm ugly. My hair is too thick. My hair is...not there anymore. I'm stupid. I'm not good enough. I can't.

Nothing makes me mad faster than someone who constantly berates themselves. Come on! You have been created by the Master of the Universe. Yes, human. Yes, imperfect. But the world beats you down enough. You don't need to pile on.

I heard it said once, that if we fall short, and refuse to forgive ourselves, we are making ourselves out to be a better judge than God. Here's the logic of that: God forgives. His word says he does. All we have to do is ask for it; that's the deal. So if he's willing to forgive us, and we are not willing to forgive ourselves, we're telling him he doesn't know what he's talking about.

So remember this: It's okay to be less than perfect, as long as you can say you're trying. It's okay to let yourself off the hook. It's okay to be human. Because that thing you consider so horrible about yourself, that thing that makes you defective? It isn't as bad as you think.

Remember, the rest of us are defective, too. We don't have room to judge anyone, least of all ourselves.

Have a great week, guys.

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