I’m Taking Welding Classes and Haven’t Burned Down the School (Yet)

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One Father’s Day my wife got me a Flux Welder machine. It is an entry-level machine for welding. As hard as I tried, I don’t weld; I burn holes into metal.

A friend tried to teach me to use a Mig welder. This is a step up from a Flux Welder. Again, my gift of burning holes in the metal showed up well.

Needing an instructor, I registered for welding classes at Central Piedmont Community College.

My instructor started us with oxygen/acetylene welding which uses an open flame. It’s a miracle I haven’t burned down the Harper Campus of CPCC each time I lit the flame. I learned to identify the liquid bubble and how to use it to weld two pieces of metal. I’m getting better each week.

Besides signing up for a welding class, I volunteer at a Classic Car Restoration shop. The owner, Billy, taught me to use a Mig welder. I took the skills I learned at CPCC with an oxygen/acetylene torch and began to apply it to an electric Mig welder. I was proud of the first four lines of weld I laid on the piece of metal.

Billy turned the metal over to show me if the weld was effective. I could see a blue circle where I had welded and felt good about myself. Billy wanted more weld-on side two of the metal. We increased voltage and adjusted the speed of the wire but there was no change. Again we increased voltage and began to see a little pile of weld on the other side. More voltage produced more steel on the other side. One final adjustment of the voltage and wire speed and there was equal steel on both sides of the piece of flat metal. It was so different than the first Mig weld I applied where the steel was on side one of the metal but not on side two.

Welding on side one but not on side two does not securely weld two pieces of steel. As Billy explained to me how to adjust voltage and wire speed, it reminded me how I used to build wooden model airplanes. I was notorious for not putting enough glue between two pieces of wood and thought glue, spread across the joint, would secure the two pieces of wood together. It didn’t work. The same was true for welding steel. I was melting two pieces of metal, whether it was with a torch or an electric arc, I had to identify the liquid bubble. Once I created that, I would maneuver it across the metal with the correct amount of heat to join two pieces of metal through their core. If done properly, I would create a secure weld.

I think the same can be true about Christianity. It’s too easy to apply a thin veneer of faith to the surface of our lives similar to a weld being on the surface without it penetrating to our very core. Just as the weld has to go through both sides of the metal to secure the pieces together, I think Christianity has to go past the surface of our head and penetrate every cell in our being until it comes out our fingertips. When that happens, it changes us from the inside out. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s our faith. Rather than believe so we can belong to a group, we believe because it’s in our very being.

I’m having a blast learning welding from two very patient leaders. I’m also enjoying watching God move deeper and deeper into my person.

I’ll be back in two weeks. Until then, live well my friend.

Rev. Tony Marciano is the President/CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission.

He is available to speak to your group. Go to www.charlotterescuemission.org and go to contact us- just ask for Pam.

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