What does electric power transmission have to do with faith, the Gospel, and pastoring? I am sure the other 60 people in the room wondered after Dad announced I had come to be his guest at the recent Frontiers of Power Conference, the 43rd version. Truth be told I just wanted to hear my Dad give a presentation at Oklahoma State University. For me there was more than a little irony in a Sooner grad presenting in Cowboy country. And, Bedlam is weeks away!
Listening to a variety of presentations on a subject I knew very little about left me thinking about growing up in the home of an EE – Electrical Engineer. I had been to the various offices my Dad was offered over his 31 years with Oklahoma Gas and Electric Company. I saw the blueprints. I looked at them even. They did not tell me a whole lot. Those engineers who shared that space knew well what the lines and symbols meant. All I knew was it had to do with getting electricity from point A to point B.
Ciphering power poles on Sunday afternoon drives was not always my idea of the way to spend the day.
It did not happen every Sunday, sometimes we found ourselves riding along as Dad would look up toward the sky. Back then we could not imagine what he was thinking about. But, something intrigued him about these poles with wires draped across them. Later I would discover the connection. Part of Dad’s job was to help a local electric company get electricity from one point to another. These transmission lines ensured customers could flip the switch and the lights would come on, turn on the TV and enjoy a show, or start the washing machine so families would have clean clothes for the next week.
Dad could look up and tell what size of load a line would carry. He could even tell you what company provided the power by looking at the style of pole and the way the insulators were mounted. Me, I could not tell much of a difference other than the structure of the pole. Sometimes they had single cross pieces, others had two, and sometimes these cross structures only extended from the pole in one direction. This meant little to me.
Like a Dad watching his son play little league baseball and well with pride, I felt like a little kid wanting to announce that was my “Dad” up there giving the presentation. I have often mused about some of my own idiosyncratic habits when it comes to communication. Watching Dad I realized where some of my own tendencies originated. Transmission takes many forms. Whether we are trying to get electricity from point A to point B or we are hoping to communicate the importance of character to our children transmission is all around us. We hope to be transmitting the good.
Just what was Dad talking about? That is for Part 2.