Barker, in his magnificent book, Future Edge, tells of a practical joke
engineers used to play on new engineers at the GE Company. It was in the 30s
and new engineers were given a lecture. The department director would tell them
to look at a light bulb and he would say, “Do you see the hot spot on this
bulb? Your job is to develop a new coating that smoothes that illumination out
so the entire surface of the bulb will glow in a uniform manner.” The idea
was that the new engineer would work for weeks and come back and admit he couldn’t
do it. At that time, he would be told that it was impossible. This was a kind
of initiation ceremony. This all played out according to plan until around 1952,
when a new engineer returned to the director, screwed in a light bulb with a
new coating and a uniform illumination. All the director could say was, “Yup,
that’s it.” A joke was over, but a new coating for light bulbs had been
invented. It is amazing what people can do when they believe they can.


Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati,

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About The Author

A third generation preacher, Mike Shannon is Professor of Preaching at Cincinnati Bible Seminary of Cincinnati Christian University. He has served as a preaching minister, church planter, and college professor. His most recent preaching ministry was at the historic First Christian Church of Johnson City, Tennessee. In his nearly two decades at Cincinnati Christian University, Mike has served as both professor and Dean of the Seminary. He has also been an adjunct professor at Milligan College and Northern Kentucky University. Mike is the author or co-author of several books.

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