Archive for May, 2007

Fallen icons provide no cause for celebration

Saturday, May 26th, 2007

Fallen icons provide no cause for celebration

There’s a curious part of human nature that celebrates the struggle of the underdog, cheering on the little guy against all odds.

Then, when said underdog overcomes adversity and rises to the top ranks of its field, we find an equal amount of pleasure in tearing it back down.

Organized religion lost one of its pre-eminent conservative icons recently with the unexpected death of Jerry Falwell. Though he was felled by a heart condition rather than by scandal, it has done little to stem the tide of negative press that has followed his passing.

Not long ago, New Life Church’s founder Ted Haggard was waist-deep in a media firestorm about his sexual indiscretions and dalliances with illicit drugs. Before him, religious giants such as Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart and Robert Tilton were dishonored.

This attack-dog dynamic hardly is limited to members of the religious community. Political figures on both sides of the aisle regularly endure criticisms of everything from their policy positions to their intelligence (see George Bush), grooming habits (see John Edwards) and family heritage (see Barack Obama).

Whether you like Sen. Hillary Clinton or not, it’s disrespectful of the office itself, let alone the human being, to suggest simply because she is a strong woman that she must therefore be a closet lesbian. It’s much easier – not to mention a guilty pleasure – to assassinate character than to address the more complex, abstract ideas that lie beneath.

Celebrities are possibly the biggest targets in this arena. I’m the first to admit that I can’t stand Britney Spears’ music, but the degree to which she has been scrutinized is appalling. There’s not a square inch of her body that has not been exposed to millions, and she’s been the punchline of thousands of jokes. Meanwhile, a clearly troubled young woman struggles with divorce, body image and possibly addiction, while we celebrate her downfall.

Sure, go ahead and argue that she brings it all on herself. If you think this way, put your own life under the magnifying glass of the press 24 hours a day, then see if you don’t develop a little empathy.

Far be it from me to suggest that we should look the other way when someone acts – or even speaks – in an egregious manner. On the contrary, it is our responsibility to raise issues of accountability within our ranks, particularly among our leaders. After all, with great power comes great responsibility.

However, the degree to which we revel in grave-dancing speaks poorly about our own character. Passionate debate about ideas and principles is just as important as holding those in positions of influence liable for their behavior. But personal attacks, particularly after someone has suffered humiliation, emotional trauma, loss of power or even death, simply flies in the face of our call to peace, compassion and forgiveness.

We should not look the other way when scandals surface. However, there is a clear difference between critical prudence and acting in a predatory manner. Such attitudes reveal more about our own dark secrets than they do any nonexistent moral superiority we may claim to have.

The challenge: Work regardless of the fruits

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007

The challenge: Work, regardless of the fruits

The Bhagavad Gita is a sacred text in the Hindu religion, particularly for those who are devoted to the god Krishna.

There are many parallels, both theologically and philosophically, with Christian, Jewish and Muslim texts, such as the immortality of the soul, differences between the physical and spiritual worlds, and a call to prayerful action to enable global harmony.

“Bhagavad Gita” is Sanskrit for “Song of God,” and is part of a greater Hindu epic. The story follows prince Arjuna into a battlefield, where he is dealing with a profound moral dilemma about the conflict. As he nears the battleground, he comes to the realization that those on the other side of enemy lines are his own relatives, friends and teachers, miring him further in a moral quandary.

Krishna, the driver of his chariot, gives Arjuna advice about his plight, and in the process, reveals himself as a god. Krishna proclaims the battle to come as Dharma Yuddha, which means that the war is justified for the greater sake of justice.

Regardless of the reader’s personal position about the concept of “just war,” there is an essential truth here: Sometimes we’re called to difficult work, the result of which is less than satisfying. But the call is to do what is right, not what is most beneficial to ourselves.

There is a quote from the Gita that summarizes this responsibility: “No matter what conditions you encounter in life, your right is only to the works – not to the fruits thereof. You should not be impelled to act for selfish reasons, nor should you be attached to inaction.”

How many of us would be willing to accept a job without first understanding the pay, benefits, hours, potential for mobility and so on? Before investing so much of ourselves, we want to know what’s in it for us. One of the most counterintuitive things about our respective calls to ministry, however, is that we’re called to the works, regardless of the fruits thereof.

I can already envision the letters, claiming that the fruits are those of salvation and of eternal life. Depending on your own take on faith versus works, this may jive, or it may not. But if the motivation of your actions as a person of faith is only the fruits, you’re not really doing ministry. Instead, you’re doing a job for what you perceive as reasonable compensation.

Imagine the job description for Jesus’ call to ministry: “Upper management seeks worker who can do it all. Skills in teaching, ministry, healing and strong interpersonal skills a must. Job involves 100 percent travel, no pay and no long-term security. Vacation time includes 40 days with no food in the desert, sharing a room with the Prince of Darkness.

“You will begin with 12 people working directly under you, but ultimately, you must be able to finish the job on your own. Must be able to do heavy lifting, endure ridicule, abandonment and, ultimately, death.”

Any takers? Didn’t think so.

Though we’re not called as people of faith to exactly the same path as Jesus, we are called to a sacrificial, challenging and not necessarily easy life. If we approach our calling by asking, “What are the benefits?” we’re already missing the point.

Does this mean we have to suffer in order to know we’re really fulfilling our call? Not really. The very first tenet of the Buddhist faith is, “Life is suffering.” This isn’t a way of glorifying the inevitable hardship we will endure, but rather an urge to recognize, and finally accept, that suffering will be a part of our walk.

In the end, what our work as people of compassion and faith is about is self-evident. We love for the sake of love itself, even if we’re not loved in return. We give for the sake of generosity, even if we are taken advantage of. We avail ourselves to a world that needs our gifts, even if they are not appreciated in the ways we think they should be.

The work is hard, the pay sucks and the hours are 24/7. Are you ready?

LOST: Thoughts on “Greatest Hits” and the Crucifixion

Thursday, May 17th, 2007

Though I enjoyed this episode, it effectively ended up being a lead-in to the finale and little more.

It was cool to learn of the Looking Glass station – another Alice in Wonderland reference. I could have done with a little less pathos surrounding Charlie’s decision to take a dive, though I’ve read posts online where people boo-hooed their way through the whole hour.  I will point out, for what it’s worth, that none of them was male. I think the writers have made more of an effort this year to draw storylines attractive to men and women. I’m not suggesting that women only like the touchy-feely stuff and guys only like action, but let’s face it; such stereotypes exist for a reason!

Anyhow, I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the clear Christ metaphor around Charlie in this episode. Forgive me in advance, but this likely will turn into a bit of a rant…

So they set this up so that Charlie has to die in order to save everyone else. Anyone even vaguely familiar with Christianity can recognize that this is reflective of the crucifixion story. HOWEVER, I have to confess it doesn’t exactly align with my personal understanding of the crucifixion.

Anyone who has read my book on “Lost” knows that I present multiple possible interpretations of the crucifixion; did Jesus have to die to save the world, or did he die because the evil of humanity killed him? The concept of the former way of thinking is called Sacrificial Atonement. Other, more direct names for it are Redemptive Suffering or Redemptive Violence. The concept, in a nutshell, is that:

1) God, as a perfect entity, cannot tolerate sin;
2) In order to reconcile a sin-laden people with a perfect God, a sacrifice was required;
3) No sacrifice was sufficient except for a Perfect Sacrifice, which only could be Jesus.

So in essence, God had a thirst for blood that could only be quenched by his own son’s life being taken and blood being spilled. God’s thirst is then quenched, we are purified, and the sacrifice reconciles us with God.

I might point out that this very notion of purgative sacrifices is a Pagan practice that was performed not only before the Christian era (remember folks, Jesus wasn’t a Christian, he was a Jew). The idea was we had to cleanse ourselves of wrongdoing through sacrifice of something of value. Animals were slaughtered and left on the altar, along with “first fruits” of the harvest, and so on. From this practice came things like tithing, which we still practice today as a discipline of sacrificial generosity.

Here’s the thing: if you recall, Jesus’ followers thought he was going to literally save them from the oppressive rule of the Roman Empire. They thought he would topple the empire, take control, and put his people in charge – a New World Order. They also thought the end of the world was coming in the next few years, as indicated by things like Jesus says, when he refers back to the prophet Daniel: “this generation will not pass before these things come to be.” This is a paraphrase, but you get the idea. People thought the end was coming with a quickness, and they believed Jesus would lead them to an earthly rule as all of humanity slid into home base.

When Jesus died, it was a HUGE letdown for his followers. The very fact that he let himself be taken captive was enough to turn a lot of his followers away. So if they believed he was who he said he was, and that he didn’t fulfill what they thought he would fulfill, they had to come up with another explanation. Why not overlay this old (pre Jewish, pre-Christian) concept of purgative sacrifice over his death to explain why he died?

Here are my personal issues with this line of thinking:
1) Jesus forgave sins before he died. If his death was REQUIRED for the forgiveness of sins, then his forgiving of sins – which is one of the big reasons he was crucified in the first place – then are we suggesting all those acts of forgiveness during his life didn’t count?
2) If he was able to forgive sins while alive, but still HAD to die to redeem the world of its sinfulness, then what we’re talking about is simply a matter of volume. Are we suggesting God can tolerate our sins one at a time, but not in bulk?
3) The very concept of redemptive violence is completely contrary to Jesus message of peace. In my opinion, Jesus message is: “Violence NEVER redeems.” There’s no asterisk next to this, so we can say, well, just this one last time, but never again.

So why did Jesus die? Was it in vain?  I don’t think so. Did he have to die to save us? I don’t think so. Was it pretty much inevitable that a person with his influence, power and convictions would eventually be killed for it? Absolutely. He knew it, but he did what he thought was right, to the very end.

So what’s the lesson then? Love is greater than all of the violence and evil of the world. There is something more important than the preservation of human life – that is the preservation of love. So the message at the cross is the same as at the end of the book of Revelation:
1) Love endures all;
2) God is love;
3) God endures all.

I know most of this was not about the show – directly at least – but they are the ones who keep raising these religious themes. I finally had to respond.

Thanks for indulging me.

Kid Speak

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

Our son, Mattias, is three and a half, which he will gladly – and rather assertively – tell you, whether asked or not. To say he is gregarious would be underplaying his outgoing nature. He knows no strangers, which is a regular challenge for his parents, but it also means he makes friends on the spot.

He’s not so good with names, though.

It’s not that he has a poor memory for names. On the contrary, once he has a name for you, he’ll never forget it.

You just have to hope the first name he comes up with is right, or so help you, you’re stuck with a pseudonym for life.

He was playing at the indoor play are at the mall during a storm recently when he ran up and introduced himself to a four-year-old red-headed young man who was sure he was Spiderman. You could tell by the way he clung to the playground walls, jumped from toy to toy, and generally ran in circles like a spaz, just as Spiderman would. When not living beneath the cloak of his mysterious alter-ego, the boy was named Gabriel. Mattias has about a one-second window within which he can actually absorb a response to his questions, at which point he moves on to other things. It’s like living constantly in the middle of the rapid-fire round of a quiz show. By the time he asked the boy his name, he was already halfway turned in the opposite direction, headed toward the giant bear toy.

Though the young man said his name was Gabriel, all Mattias heard was “Egg Roll.” So from now on, his new friend’s name is Egg Roll.

He called him Egg Roll for the next thirty minutes, as Egg Roll’s parents doubled over in laughter, and we flushed with embarrassment. “Hey, Egg Roll, watch me jump!” He called from the slide. “Egg Roll, let’s race,” and so on.

This is not the only time this has happened.

Just recently on a trip to the Playland at a local McDonalds, he met up with another young boy who he determined would be his friend for the interim. Again, he asked the boy his name, and again, he didn’t really wait for an answer before climbing through the colored tubes toward the top.

The poor kid, who was shy of three and was not particularly swift of speech, tried to muster a “Frankie,” but all our son heard was “Shrinky.”

“This is my friend, Shrinky. We’re playing,” he said, with no apparent awareness of the unlikelihood of his proclamation.  No matter how many times we corrected him, the die had been cast. The kid forever would be known in Mattias’ world as Shrinky.

We have two friends who we meet up with from time to time. They are an eclectic couple, into drum circles, organic gardening and the like. They are pretty easy going, which is good, because some might be put off by Mattias’ tendency to butcher names.

I must admit that we don’t call them by their proper names either. Instead, we know them as “Barb and Kuz” (pronounced Kooz). They are such a tightly-knit unit that I’d be hard-pressed to say one name without the other.  You say “Barb, and the tongue leaps forth with an irrepressible “and Kuz.”  You just can’t help it. It flows.

Leave it to Mattias to creatively mutilate even this.  no matter how often we correct him, the couple is known to him as “Barn and Goose.” This seems to make perfect sense to him, as he never has paused or questioned this. The funny thing is we’ve gotten so used to hearing it that we have started calling them Barn and Goose too, and in fact, they even call themselves Barn and Goose from time to time.

Oh, if the world’s lexicon could only accommodate Mattias’ unique approach to language, what creative names we’d have. For now, Shrinky, Egg Roll, Barn and Goose are the few within the hallowed halls of the renamed, but keep your ears open.  I’m sure there will be plenty more to come.

Isn’t it time for church to embrace diversity?

Saturday, May 12th, 2007

Isn’t it time for church to embrace diversity?

We are witnessing a popular divide within the greater church. As ministry begins to reflect the pluralism of the American culture, impasses arise with respect to traditional values, morals and guidelines about who may and may not serve as leaders.

While in some cases we have moved assertively toward a more diverse body of church leadership, there are others who resist such change.

Gender issues still pose a major point of potential division. The Southern Baptist Convention still claims that women should not be allowed to preach or lead churches. In January 2007, Dr. Sheri Klouda, a tenure-track professor of theology at Southwest Theological Seminary since 2002, was fired because she was a woman.

These differing positions do not come without a price. In a recent interview, Bishop of Rochester, England, Michael Nazir-Ali, said, “Nobody wants a split (in the church), but if you think you have virtually two religions in a single church, something has got to give sometime.”

In a post-denominational world which divides more along lines of ideology and orthodoxy rather than church affiliation, it is difficult to imagine a church that will do anything but grow further apart.

If we maintain traditional standards upon which the historical church was built, we risk cultural alienation, a lingering sense of oppressiveness and further cultural irrelevance. If we press forward toward a vision of church within which gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation are not criteria for ministry, we risk divisions that may never be mended.

We tend to assume that we know about people’s beliefs based on their church allegiance, but that’s harder to do these days. Evidence of ideological ties being stronger than denominational affiliation is no more evident than among today’s young adults.

In a January 2007 report titled “How Young People View Their Lives, Futures and Politics: A Portrait of ‘Generation Next,’ ” the Pew Research Center notes not only that today’s young adults are increasingly liberal in their social and political views, but that the trend becomes only more pronounced the younger people are.

More young adults attend evangelical churches than any other age group, but these liberal social trends are consistent even among them. Those who seek to bolster their own position with numbers find it increasingly difficult to rely on membership as an indicator of the strength of their own constituency. This tells us that people will believe what they choose to believe, regardless of what we tell them to think.

Despite how one feels about sexuality with respect to scripture, it’s in our best interest as Christians to deal with this in a matter-of-fact way. For some, it’s a moral wedge issue. For others, it’s a call to justice and equality. The idea that both sides will take the time to discourse about their beliefs – and even their differences – is critical to our sustainability as a cohesive body of faith.

Mary Lou Makepeace, executive director of the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado, believes that churches must be actively engaged in the discussions about these issues, not just as they relate to the church, but in the context of society as a whole. “The ministry is on the front lines addressing this issue with families and individuals on a daily basis,” says Makepeace, “but may be lacking the tools to comfortably have a discussion.”

Our young adults lack a sense of hope for their own peer group. There is a crisis of belonging, strong leadership and capable mentoring to help guide them toward the hope they would seek for themselves. Simply dividing ourselves further over irreconcilable differences instills no more faith in the institutions who claim moral authority on many different grounds.

While we argue over the place of women, gays and other groups of people in the pulpit, a generation loses faith in the religious system itself. Someone may claim victory in time, but by then, there may be little left to celebrate.

LOST: Thoughts on “Man Behind the Curtain”

Friday, May 11th, 2007

Well, if nothing else, things certainly are moving forward.

Jack and Juliette finally gave up the ghost and explained what they were up to, which was…(drum roll).

We haven’t decided yet.

Wha?  Seriously? This weeks-long drama leading up to whether or not Jack has turned to the Dark Side is revealed to be a profound lack of decisiveness, and htis coming from the guy who always has a plan in his back pocket. I’m all for the “who’s good, who’s bad” scenarios, as this is a lot of what the show is about for me, but you have to offer a more satisfying reveal than “we we’re being secretive because we didn’t know what to do.”

I’ll go ahead and get my other gripe out of the way while I’m at it. Though I thoroughly enjoyed learning how incredibly bad Ben really is, I was hoping for more than a “Daddy was a drunk” explanation. Come on, give us some big revenge plot, or a major pathology he developed on the island, perhaps because he’s trying to use the island’s powers for selfish means. But what we’re left with is Dharma beer and dad’s crappy janitor job as the culprits behind the baddest villain in the first three years of the show.

All of this having been said, i really did enjoy the episode. I thought the explanation about the elimination of DHARMA was excellent, especially since we know in the backs of our minds that there are some people still manning the stations. We also begin to understand why they wore quarantine gear, seeing that their associates had died suddenly. Evidently they didn’t know they were gessed, but instead suspected an outbreak of some kind.

I was also happy to finally get to “see” Jacob, who I have assumed was the man behind the curtain. However, having him be invisible was a little bit annoying. I’m hoping the next couple of weeks will explicate this further.

My predictions are these:
Locke will live. he’s too cool to kill off. unless his contract didn’t renew, he’ll make it back. he has a special healing connection with the island, which would explain this, though I expect Jacob will come to his rescue, so he can in turn help him, as was Jcob’s plea to Locke in the first place. Aparently Ben is holing him captive or something.

My other prediction is that Eko will show back up in the next couple of weeks. Maybe htis is the way Jacob will manifest himself to Locke. I also think that we’ll see the return of Michael and Walt, and that their return will explain much about the special properties of the island. In an article I read recently, the creators/producers say we’ll learn a lot about what the island is this season, though we’ll have to wait (of course) until the last five minutes of the finale.

Etiquette (spoken word)

Monday, May 7th, 2007


Why is it
That when we try to establish rules
About the nature, placement, disposal of,
Masking of related odors, and general attitude
We carry when divesting ourselves
Of our bodily fluids, that we feel the urge to be cute,
To make little rhymes out of our rules?

Let me offer a few examples
For the purposes of illustration:

“If you sprinkle when you tinkle,
Be a sweetie; wipe the seatie.”

“If it’s yellow, let it mellow.
If it’s brown, flush it down.”

“Please enjoy our –ool.
Notice there’s no “P” in it.
Please try to keep it that way.”

We’re all adults here.
There’s no need to dress it up
And take it out to dinner.
Say what you mean.

“Please don’t pee all over my bathroom.
If you do,
Clean it up.”

“If it stinks, flush it, always.
Twice if necessary.”

“Warning: there is a chemical in the pool
That will turn your pee bright red if you
Whizz in our crystal-clear water.
We don’t need you throwing off the P.H.
With your P.E.E.
Keep it in your trunks.”

While we’re on the subject…

Yes, I agree it is a common courtesy
For us men to lift the seat before we go,
And to put it down when we’re done.
However, if we happen to forget
And you fall in,
You’re on your own.

To the bathroom designers of the world:
You can put all the money you like
Into hands-free flushers,
Automatic soap dispensers,
Infrared sinks and motion sensitive hand dryers,
But until you work with the guy
Making the doors to the bathroom,
With its disease-ridden handles,
What’s the point?

To those facilities who have the forethought
To add a urinal at a height
Accessible to a three-year-old,
Allow me, on behalf of all parents of young boys
To offer our sincere thanks.
To the rest of you,
Who seem to think only adults use your restrooms,
When the unfortunate employee
Who is new on the job, drew the shortest straw,
Or just pissed off the boss is assigned restroom cleanup,
And they find what looks like the result
Of a urine grenade going off in the stall,
Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

On the subject of stalls,
I think I finally understand why some women
Spend so much time in the bathroom.
Yours are really nice.
You each get your own little room,
Sometimes with flowers,
Maybe a magazine or two,
Some mood music, breath mints,
A concierge and who knows,
Maybe a dry cleaning service.
I’d take my time too

As a guy,
I’m lucky if I get my own receptacle.
The really special ones even give you
A little divider in between
So I don’t have to pretend
To be counting the grout lines
In the tile wall ahead of me while a
Three-hundred-pound biker stands six inches from me,
Each of us in an unlikely posture,
Feeling a little vulnerable,
Trying to make things go smoothly,
And not get accused of taking an errant peek.
Hey, sometimes you just get curious.

And whoever decided it was acceptable
To line guys up in a row, peeing in a metal trough,
Or worse, a concrete ditch in the bathroom floor
Clearly has never peed standing up in his – or her – life.
Do you know how much splatter there is in a situation like that,
Especially at a sporting event where twelve hundred guys
Are trying to relieve themselves within the span of a commercial break,
Or when some dude with compromised equilibrium
Starts watering the walls in the communal stall with his
First six beers of the night?
It’s enough to make a germophobe like me
Burn my pants and shoes when I get home.

It doesn’t seem that hard
To design a spray-resistant pee repository system.
However, my guess is the top-of-the-class engineers
At MIT aspire to a little more than urban waste
Receptacle design.
But it only takes one –
Just one brilliant visionary to identify the need,
Apply his gifts, bank his millions,
And in the process, make the world a better place.

Until then, I’ll keep using the nasty troughs,
Opening doors with my shirt sleeves
And dangling my kid over the urinal
As his pee shoots askew at a forty-five degree angle.
It’s a humble dream,
But I will not rest until bathroom parity
Is a reality.

Ask not what your church can do for you…

Saturday, May 5th, 2007

It’s no surprise to anyone who attends church on a regular basis that women outnumber men in the pews in many congregations. There are many theories about the attrition of males in church, from the swell of female ministers to paradigmatic changes in the social role of religion in our lives. Regardless of the cause, the numbers don’t lie.

In response to this trend, some ministries are making a point of reaching out specifically to men. From biker ministries – not exclusive to men, mind you – to football-watching parties, the point is to meet men where they are, in all of their stereotypical, oil-stained, sports-infatuated splendor.

A few weeks ago, one of the religious wire services carried a story about a ministry taking this a step further. Not only do they meet in a gym, promote casual dress and serve pizza after the service, but they even have a “shot clock” that counts down to the end of the service. Rock music blasts before the message, and topics focus on guy stuff, whatever that means.

All of this seems benign and well-intentioned enough that it took me a while to figure out what bothered me about it.

First of all, church runs the risk of oozing desperation from every pore if, in our effort to bolster our ranks, we bend over backward to accommodate every niche group. There are enough situations already in our culture where, if we have something a company wants, they will cater to our ego or our fascination with comfort and entertainment. Church should not be employing these predatory techniques.

While we’re not in the business of flagellating each person at the door, we also should not be focused, first and foremost, on making people comfortable. Our job as leaders in the church is to set an inspiring example, to keep people stirred up enough to want to change if necessary, and to spur them to act. The truth is that a comfortable person is one who is not likely to seek out change. This is not the call of faith.

Second, any time we begin to define who can and cannot participate in a ministry, we risk compromising the essence of the gospel message of mutual dependence. If we only surround ourselves with people who make us comfortable, or who look and think like us, what’s the point? That’s not church; that’s a social club.

Jesus, Siddhartha Gautama (aka Buddha) and other prominent spiritual leaders hung out with a melange of unlikely people. To see a prostitute rubbing elbows with a tax collector would have been pretty weird in Jesus’ day, but it’s what you would have seen.

When people come to us seeking vision, inspiration and hope, we sit them down in an easy chair and put their feet up. In doing so, we confirm a secular cultural message that is viral in its prevalence today: You are the center of the universe.

Well, guess what? You’re special, but not that special. Get over yourself. Think about someone else for a change. Live with being uncomfortable if it helps you develop some compassion for how the rest of the world lives, or if it prompts you to be more aware of how much suffering there is in the world.

President John F. Kennedy was spot-on when he said, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” We as the greater church universal would do well to adopt a similar mantra for those wondering what they will find within the walls of our faith institutions.

Ask not, then, what church can do for you; instead, ask yourself what you should be doing for God and God’s creation. Then instead of looking for the church with the denominational logo on the door that you’re used to, or instead of picking the place with the hippest music or shortest commute, find the place that’s really going to help you be a better person.

You only get one chance at life. You can spend it obsessing about getting every one of your own infinite needs met, or you can step outside your own skin and help make this world a better place. That’s what a good church should help you do.