Wednesday’s Column: Third’s Words


Gary Pollard

When I first got into shooting, I relied pretty heavily on what others believed. There was (and is) a wide range of opinions on which platforms are the best, which calibers are the most effective, or which subcultural group is the worst (mall ninjas, fuds, tacticool operators, etc.). Most hold their opinions with great passion and will advocate for their position vehemently. I never really enjoyed shooting with the platforms and calibers I initially chose because I made all of my decisions based on the preferences of people I respected and admired. There’s nothing wrong with this, but I did not yet feel as if the sport was truly mine. Several years later, countless thousands of rounds, and hours of research, and I’ve found my place. I prefer 9mm, Glocks or Caniks, Combloc, AR platforms, 6.5 Grendel is the best intermediate round, etc. In other words, it’s not an “inherited” faith. I like what I like based on the energy I’ve dedicated to study and practice.

When it comes to elements of our faith, how often do we challenge our personal beliefs? Unlike firearms – which are subjective and spiritually irrelevant – our faith is based on an objective standard. It is difficult to have a strong, personal faith if most of what we believe is based on what others taught us or what others believe. We may even adopt their beliefs because we admire and respect them as people. That’s not a great foundation. Humans are fallible!

Approaching scripture as a blank slate, asking only, “What does God want me to believe about ______?” is the best way to grow. The only opinion that matters is God’s! When we hear something that elicits an emotional response and seems to conflict with our current beliefs, we shouldn’t panic. God’s word determines validity. If we can approach scripture without bias, we’ll grow exponentially. Challenging our beliefs does more than simply refine our understanding – it forces us to take ownership of our faith. Not only will this cause growth, it will also deepen our love for God and our confidence in eternal destination!

On an elk hunting trip in Gunnison, CO, around 2008.



Neal Pollard

The Wall Street Journal says General Motors made a “deadly defect in ignition switches used on as many as 2.6 million cars” (blogs.wsj.com, Spector, White, et al). The switches could suddenly slip from the on position, “stalling the vehicles and disabling airbags” (ibid.).  But, it didn’t get fixed and, according to WSJ’s Mike Ramsey and Jeff Bennett, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is certain that there were more than the 13 deaths as GM has been maintaining.  Some safety experts speculate that the number could be as high as 100 (blogs.wsj.com).  A 315 page report on the GM corporate culture reveals that solutions were proposed but died in committees. “But determining the identity of an actual decision maker was impenetrable. No single person owned any decision” (ibid.). The phenomenon was dubbed “the GM nod” or “the GM salute,” where everyone agreed that something should be done but nobody did anything.

A proposal is made, everyone agrees it should be enacted, and then everyone thinks someone else will do it and not them. There is no taking of ownership or accepting of responsibility.  “Someone” will handle it.  But, nobody did!

It is easy to fall into this way of thinking.  When sermons are preached on evangelism or encouraging wayward members, we nod at its importance.  When announcements are made of those facing surgery or being hospitalized and visits are encouraged, we nod that it should happen.  We’re asked to pray for someone and we sympathetically nod. Appeals to attend worship services and Bible classes may be met with a nod.  Calls for duty, involvement, and commitment might get a dutiful nod.

Sometimes, though, the nod is the last action we take.  We’re busy.  It’s not our job.  Someone will do it, but not me.

Let’s be challenged to be moved by right, scriptural calls to action.  Let’s not assume someone else will do it.  Let’s take these appeals personally and act accordingly.