Warnings, cautions, notes

People who fly jets sometimes do things with the airplane that the designer never intended, leading to accidents that cause injury or death.

When an accident occurs, it usually leads to a human solution, a change to the operator’s manual, so future crewmembers won’t repeat the mistake.

A “warning” is something that if not followed, could lead to injury or death.

A “caution,” if not followed, could lead to equipment damage.

A “note” is something that’s recommended but not required.

Operator’s manuals are filled with warnings, cautions, and notes arising out of accidents, hence the aircrew saying that the manuals are “written in blood.”

Sometimes an accident also leads to a hardware fix; airplanes retrofitted with a device to help keep crewmembers from making the same mistake.

What’s my point?

Our church is confronting a difficult situation. A few “guests” are using the building in a way that was never intended. Some sleep outside, and a few leave trash, human waste, and the occasional needle. It can be awful, especially for our staff who bear the brunt of the mess.

Does this call for a human solution, a “hardware fix,” or both? There’s a case to be made for all sides.

A proposed hardware fix is to install gates to help keep people off church property after hours.

A human solution might be to engage the folks who cause the problem. Most are mentally ill or addicted; victims of the epidemic sweeping our country.

Some proposed aircraft hardware fixes are too cumbersome or expensive. The fix might prevent the problem, but it would also keep the plane from working as intended. An airplane that doesn’t fly is safe, but what good is it?

In the church, my sense is that a human problem first calls for a human solution. We should work with the street teams who minister to the city’s homeless.

As crewmembers, we need to remember what the Designer has in mind.


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