Faith musings from the seat of a forklift.
Sometimes the question must be asked “Why was that loaded this way?” or “Why did you not load this that way?” For me, the answer will typically have something to do with minimizing the risk of damage. The warehouse where I work has this concept of “cubing out” the trailer. The idea, in a nutshell, is to use every single millimeter of space available. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for getting as much freight as possible in a trailer, being mindful of the overall weight of the trailer, but I am not a big fan of stuffing a trailer to the point where I am risking damaging something just to get that last millimeter or two of space.
This blog is very much the same way. I have been asked why I started it and why I sometimes look at the Bible or church traditions the way I do. The answer is very simple. However, with that simplicity is a profound concept that can be quite difficult to grasp. The fact is, forklift theology began many years ago with an e-mail. Back then, I was living in a trailer park and driving to Burien on Sunday mornings to attend Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church. This church was a member of Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, or LCMC. I was a member of that church, its NorthWest District, and the Word Alone Network.
I can not say with any clarity what the situation was or how it came about. For that matter, I do not know if I can even find the e-mail that started it. Regardless of the case, I made a reply regarding something and received a personal reply from one of the pastors on that e-mail list. In short, he said that it was good thinking for somebody who is not a pastor and drives forklift for a living. Feeling encouraged, I decided to try starting a blog. It failed. It failed because it lacked any real focus and there was no genuine ownership on my part for what was written, namely because I was attempting not to use personal pronouns.
I don’t know what it was, but I became interested in trying again. However, this time I had a better plan. I wanted to create something that looked at the Bible and how relevant it was to modern life. However, I also wanted to create something that was unique in how it looked at church doctrine. I started looking at other blogs to see what they were doing. Many of them were written by pastors, some of whom I know. However, I could not help but notice that all of them tended to sound somewhat alike. No offense, but it just seems like most pastors seemed to think alike. Must be the result of actually finishing seminary, something else that failed for me.
All of this got me thinking. I needed to think of a way in which I could really write something unique. However, what did I know? All I had was an associate degree in theology from a regionally accredited Bible college and my time as a forklift operator. That is when it hit me. I asked about an idea on a couple of facebook groups to make certain of it, but what if I could write a blog from the view of a forklift operator and a Christian? Forklift theology was now gestating, but I did not yet have a name. Eventually I suggested what would become the formal name of this blog. However, I needed to check to ensure it wasn’t taken. A search on google provided several websites that discussed “forklift theology”, but they were all across the board with no singular agreement. One was a Christian ministry with a singular post regarding what was their idea of forklift theology. Another post was a bulletin board run by a communist group and their idea of forklift theology had much to do with forklifts and nothing to do with theology. Given my actual experience as a forklift operator, I was certainly venturing into new territory.
I registered the blog on wordpress.com as Forklift Theology. I also set up a page on facebook for it. Then I began. My first post “Concerns of the world and the kingdom” was published on 2013/06/30. This post was inspired by the story of Jesus visiting Mary and Martha. Other posts would follow on a nearly weekly basis. Most tend to follow the general liturgical readings, as will the post for later today. Others were based more upon discussions I’ve had with other Christians or things I have seen on church billboards. I also registered the forklifttheology.com address for this blog. Periodically, I do skip a posting, usually because I am in a quandary about what to write, other times I can write something almost immediately after church. I also got the wordpress mobile app so that I can write posts to this blog while on the go. Truthfully, I have only written one post with that and I generally use it only to check to see what comments exist.
It has been fun to write this blog. I admit that I do not always agree with the Christian church on some issues of doctrine and tradition. I am quite amillenial. I don’t believe that Jesus was born in a stable. I believe that baptism of infants is valid. I do tend to lean slightly towards believing in predestination (however, for me that is more of a matter of God’s foreknowledge than it is whether or not he chooses to save some and not others). These days I am in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, but I do not feel that I have to completely agree with what the synod teaches. Rather, I agree where I can clearly see it in scripture and reject what is not plainly written in scripture. Not all traditions are necessarily valid and some should honestly be questioned.
So then, why do I write forklift theology? I do it to dispel false ideas and to show why the Bible is still relevant to our lives today. I compare the general happenings of a warehouse environment with the words of the Bible and why they apply. I admit that all warehouses tend to operate slightly differently, but there is also a general cohesiveness to the warehouse industry. In that cohesiveness, we tend to do many things the same way. Oddly, the same can be said of churches. All churches, even in the LCMS, are slightly different, but they still are cohesive on some level, even following the same liturgy and cycle of scripture readings. In fact, the liturgical reading cycle is the same for all liturgical churches, regardless of denomination. Note, it is a modern myth that you can have worship of God without ever attending church. To say such is to worship the self and not the Lord God who made you.
Yes, I write based upon what I see and how I understand scripture. Sometimes I may be wrong. However, sometimes I am the only one willing to say that something is wrong while everyone else just follows the crowd. Am I a prophet? No, just a forklift operator with a point of view.
I suppose the question can be asked “What is forklift theology and who is it for?” The answer to that is the simplest of all. Forklift theology is our daily lives and how our faith applies to the situations we are involved in from moment to moment. It matters little if you are a homemaker, a businessman, a lawyer, a doctor, a high school student, or a forklift operator. Forklift theology is written for everyone. It is the Bible in a blue jeans and work boots. It is also, ironically, the first two hits on a google search at this point in time.