Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day Prayer

Yesterday at the Memorial Day ceremony at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, I offered the following invocation:

Heavenly Father, as we gather together today, many of our fellow citizens will be traveling to relatives or grilling out with friends.  Many are marching in or watching parades and gloring in tradition.  But bless us who gather here today to honor our war dead.  Help us remember that there is no glory in what we observe, no glory in war itself, only the failure of humanity to live up to its potential.  Help us more to grieve the countless young lives wasted in conflict than to celebrate the conflicts themselves.  Help us to remember that the first Memorial Day in 1868 honored soldiers from both sides of the Civil War as an act of reconciliation.  Help us to remember the words of Frederick Moore Vinson who at Arlington National Cemetery on Memorial Day, 1945 said, "Wars are not acts of God. They are caused by man, by man-made institutions, by the way in which man has organized his society. What man has made, man can change."  And help us to strive for the day when, as the prophet Isaiah wrote, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks: national shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more."  What we do here today is a small thing, but O Lord, if you help us to remember these things, perhaps we may help reduce the numbers of young men and women sent into battle.  So bless us, dear God, so that we may bless a war torn and weary world.  Amen.

Mind you, I am no fan of the careless and almost flip way in which national leaders tend to enter into war, forgetting that it not only kills soldiers but also, and more tragically, civilians who want no part in it.  If I weren't such a coward, I would speak more stridently against the current war.  But this is what I could muster.

If I had to add anything, there would be three phrases I've heard countless times in Memorial Day speeches which I would like to contest.  They are:

1.  "They made the ultimate sacrifice."  Why is it the ultimate sacrifice?  Does that mean that death is the ultimate end?  Does that mean that death is the worst that can happen to you?  I disagree.  Losing your soul is the worst.  There are many people suffering through a living hell for whom death would be relief.  But more generally, if we are Christians (and most in this country claim to be), then death is to be greeted with joy, for it is God who welcomes us to heaven afterward, and as Christians, we await eternal life with Christ, assured that we don't have to earn our way there, but that it is a free gift.  Besides, a sacrificial victim is one who has no defense against that death.  Soldiers don't go into battle thinking they are going to die -- they go trying to kill other people, to make them pay the ultimate price (as it were).  There are many who die trying to do good (say in NGOs like the Red Cross) but never carry a weapon.

2.  "We honor those who served this country."  As if the military were the only way to serve this country.  As mentioned above, there are non governmental agencies like the Red Cross (as an example only -- there are countless great agencies), and they serve every bit as much if not more.  Without defenses, quite often, they go into hotspots to bring comfort and aid to the most vulnerable.  Unfortunately, when they get killed in the line of duty, they are often portrayed as fools or unrealistic dreamers who should have known better.  In general, though, I think of countless volunteers who feed the poor and teach children (one of the most important services there can be), and care for the elderly.  Yes, people actually volunteer to do these things, aside from the professionals who offer their time.  

3.  "We owe our freedom to them."  Two problems with this.  First, I'm not sure we do.  You'll notice that Canada did not have a revolution while we did back in the 1770s.  Yet they are free.  My point is that every time we think we need to go to war, there are consequences, and those consequences are not usually just "freedom."  On the other hand, there's a very good likelihood that without going to war, we would end up with similar results in the long run, and possibly more lasting peace.  There was an interesting study recently that said each war can usually be directly or indirectly linked to the previous war.  The Civil War (and the War of 1812, for that matter) certainly has its roots in the unfinished business of the Revolution where northern and southern states banded together but even then held their noses to do so.  

Besides, what is freedom?  We bandy that word about but have not real clue what it means.  Is is the right to do whatever you want?  We don't have that.  Is it the right to determine your leadership?  We only partially have that, and as other countries are discovering, there are better ways to determine the will of the people than our money-based system.  We truly are not more free than folks in a lot of other countries -- many of which never resort to fighting. Add to that the sinfulness of our current war which is protecting nobody's freedom -- Iraqis aren't too happy with the current situation, and we are less free since this war began than before.  

And for Christians, freedom was never something that could be fought for.  You can't win it because it is a gift, like eternal life.  We are free in our souls, and what others do to our bodies is ultimately of little consequence.  We are free, not because someone else died in a battle but because Christ makes us so -- it's not free because we give up everything to God, not because we have to fight for it.  

So, that's my beef.  I only get a minute at Memorial Day ceremonies, so I pack into a prayer what I can.  But now, at least I can say the rest.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

What, Me Worry? -- A Sermon

The Gospel According to Alfred E. Neuman.  "What - Me Worry?"  

For those of you who didn't waste your youth as I may well have, Alfred E. Neuman is the gap-toothed, big eared, ever-smiling cover boy of that American Icon, Mad Magazine.  His signature saying is, "What - Me Worry?"  

And it is Alfred that we can look at, for he is -- or is not -- what Jesus was talking about when he says, "Don't worry about what you will eat or drink or wear."  Or when he says,  “Don't worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today."

The question is, is Alfred E. Neuman that smart?  Did he really get what Jesus  was saying and turn it into his motto?  

Well, I have to confess, as a childhood patron of Mad, I never thought of him in those terms.  Rather, I thought of his as being oblivious to what was going on around him -- he sort of did his thing and couldn't be bothered with the consequences.  He didn't worry because he didn't care about anything or anyone.  

On the other hand, worry itself is a preoccupation with a trouble or a problem.  It doesn't seek solutions but simply allows the situation to overwhelm.  As the dictionary puts it, Worry is "the state of allowing one's mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles."  It's being so focused on a negative thing that you can't see anything else.

But I don't thinkJesus had either of these in mind.  He's is in the midst of his sermon on the mount, and he has been talking about priorities.  No man can serve two masters.  Jesus is not saying we shouldn't care, but that we can make our lives needlessly miserable by losing our focus.

When he says you can either serve God or money, but not both, he's helping us understand that we are only so big and can't possibly make everything our priority.  So what is our priority?  Where are we going to expend our spiritual and emotional energy?  Will we make power, possessions and wealth our priority?  Or will we make loving God and other human beings our priority?  

It's that simple, really. Nowhere does Jesus suggest that we shouldn't make our livings so we can feed, clothe and house our families.  Jesus is a smart guy - he knows we need those things and wouldn't suggest we can just snap our fingers to get what we want.  He knows nobody would listen to him anyway if he suggested such a thing.

But he does suggest that making these things the focus of our lives will lead to more harm than good.  To put it quickly, when those things become our focus, we can no longer see people -- our families and neighbors near and far -- as gifts.  Rather, we see them as tools or liabilities.  When those things -- what the Gospel calls mamon -- become our focus, we can no longer see God.  And that's when we start to die inside.

We can expand this out, by the way.  Some folks worry about relationships.  The Israelites worried that God did not care about them anymore.  They weren't actually relating with God anymore, they were just worrying.  That's when Isaiah said, "Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. See, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me."

That's another way of saying, "You don't have to worry about God loving you -- that's a given.  Just take part in the relationship."  

The truth about life is that it will always include hunger, and pain and fear.  This is Memorial Day weekend when we consider the countless lives -- usually young -- wasted in wars.  These last three weeks we've seen news of something like 150,000 people killed in China and Myanmar through natural disasters.  Every day countless others die of starvation and disease.  

To say, "Don't worry," does not mean to turn into Alfred E. Neuman and close your eyes to your needs or the needs of others.  It is to say, get your focus straight.  Look to the creator and loving parent of all, and you will find the peace, strength and courage to live in the world while at the same time helping your brothers and sisters.

Get caught up in worry, and you will achieve little of any true meaning and will burn yourself out faster than a Fourth of July firework (to mix my holidays).  Give up and quit caring like Alfred and you'll -- well you lose your soul.  

So don't worry, but don't quit caring.  Inbetween the two there is God, always holding you in the palm of his hand, always caring for you, always providing what is most essential in this short life we live.  Love.

Sports as Spiritual Liability

I've discussed interscholastic sports as a distraction to education and a deterrent to physical health.  Now I want to look at the spiritual and social aspects of them.

Before I go on, I should say that there are a lot of sports in our society, and I enjoy watching professional games (mostly hockey).  You can't wipe them all out, nor is there any need.  But in our schools, the activities we provide teach lessons, sometimes unintended.

I would argue that focusing so much on sports promotes a point of view that is spiritually and socially unhealthy.  What is it?  That to be successful in life one must win -- beat the other -- that life is a zero sum game and if I get ahead, it is always at your expense.

Think about some of the phrases we've learned over the years -- phrases, I'm sad to say, that have been repeated by school coaches around the country for years:  "Winning isn't the main thing, it's the only thing" or "Second place is first loser" or even "We're number one."

I remember chanting those things back in school -- it was fun.  But think of that:  "We're number one."  Number one?  Sure, maybe on that day we played a better game of basketball, but number one?  There's always someone who can and will beat you.  To think we should take our identity from the outcome of a game we didn't even play and that could just as easily have gone a different way is silly.

But more importantly, it's dangerous to our souls.  I remember driving past a VA Hospital once, and a banner read, "Thanks to our Veterans, We're number 1."  Sadly, too many of us think of international politics as a sport.  Our country's best.  We can whoop you.  You other countries are losers.

We see it at every level:  interpersonal, business, politics (where you have to destroy your opponent even if you agree on 90% of the issues).  Our focus on sports isn't on having fun and being physically active, it's on beating the other.  

That's why we keep records and standings.  That's why High Schools across the country hang banners from the rafters that proudly proclaim, "Conference Champions, 1994."  It shows that they were winners.

All in all, the emphasis on winning defeats our very souls.  I've heard far too many adults say that the sports teach kids about real life -- kids getting cut from the team just makes them realize that tough things happen.  That losing happens, and you just pick yourself up and move on so you can win the next time.  Well, that's fine, and I agree that part of our job as adults is to teach our kids how to move on from the inevitable failings and disappointments we face.

But I disagree that our purpose is to beat the other.  That our business can only succeed by driving the competition out of business -- or at least by being Number 1.  I disagree with politicians who tell us that compromise is wishy washy or not being true to core values.  

I disagree with those who say we must be the best.  There is not such thing.  Only God is best.  The rest of us are here to learn from each other, to help each other and to cooperate.  Sports can be fun, but they are not the way to proceed in life.  

Many say that sports teach teamwork -- well, so does working together on a project in school.  But a project in school does not teach us to work against others, and our sports fascination does.  When we see our goal as beating the other, we have fallen into spiritual illness, and that's not something we should be teaching in our schools.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sports as Detriment to Health

Yesterday, I spoke about sports as a distraction to education.  But I know parents who say they need interscholastic sports because it keeps their kids physically fit.  Bunk!

I would argue that interscholastic sports does more harm to the physical health of many more kids than it helps.  How can that be?  Well, think about it.

How many kids take part in interscholastic sports teams?  On average, it's about ten percent.  Ten percent of a 1200 population school is about 120 students.  Often, even with several teams, you see the same kids playing several sports.  Now, the numbers might shift here and there, but the main point is, it is a small minority of students who participate in the teams.

These are teams, by the way, that you have to try out for, so you might get cut if you aren't good enough.  Which means in this context that even if you want to play, you don't necessarily get to.  

For the most part, it's pretty clear that sports will improve the health of those who are on the team.  But the rest of the school isn't.  Instead, they are encouraged to sit and watch others play (that's school spirit, after all).  Our focus on teams means that if we are to be good students, we sit and passively watch.  We instill this philosophy that says, "If you're not the best, don't bother" -- and let me tell you, we have generations (not just the current one) of kids who don't and didn't bother.  These teams don't encourage kids to get out there and get active.  They tell them not to bother. 

They create a class of kids who are the designated athletes and tell everyone else to give up.  Which, for the most part, they do.  If you want a population of physically fit people, that's no way to get the job done.  If you only want a few VERY fit people, then keep at it.

On the other hand, I'm not sure interscholastic sports is all that good for the jocks themselves.  I remember going to my 20th High School reunion a few years back and not even recognizing some of my classmates.  The guy who went to state in wrestling was fat and had already had a heart attack.  They star of the football team looked pastey-faced and worn out.  A lot of the jocks were still in good shape, but I was amazed  how many weren't -- they left school and never found the old glory again, so gave up.

There were others who just got sick of it because of the pressure.  In fact, studies recently showed that a lot of kids quit sports teams because it's just too much stress -- or because they get injured, sometimes permanently.  

I'm not saying that interscholastic sports is the only culprit, but I think they're a good place to start.  What if we put our emphasis on everyone doing some sort of activity -- walking for example -- instead of the few who are really good at a thing.  Because, let's face it, our lives AFTER sports are a lot longer than our lives as athletes.  But we can remain physically active all our lives if we are taught the value of it.  It would make sense for schools to focus on the longterm health of all the students.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Sports as Distraction

Yesterday, I said interscholastic sports ate up a lot of money that could be used for actual education and that they did not serve a valid educational purpose (or at the least, not a very cost effective one).

Today, I'll look at the first of three reasons school boards ought to consider dumping them altogether from our school budgets.  First, a disclaimer.  I was a high school athlete.  I lettered in wrestling.  My brother lettered in track, cross country and wrestling -- and he went to state.  I enjoyed those sports as far as they went.

But would my school experience have been better without them?  Hard to say.  After I graduated from high school, I was lucky enough to go to Germany as an exchange student.  Yes, it was in a high school, but Germany at the time had thirteen years of high school, so it worked out fine.  

I noticed three things right away about German schools*.  First, they go from 7th grade through 13th grade.  Second, I noticed the teachers were called "Professor" and accorded much higher respect than in our country.  I found out they also only taught about two classes a day.  Third, I noticed there were no school sports teams and no "school spirit."  I had a hard time trying to explain school spirit to them.

And yet, their school worked.  In fact, German kids still score much higher than American kids.  Now, I was in those classrooms for a long time and assure you, the quality of teaching was no better there than here.

But, one factor is that they were not distracted by the sports.  They did not have rallies to get the student body pumped up to win the big game.  They did not have cheer leaders running around in short skirts (which as a high school kid I did not mind but did find a bit distracting).  They did not have the jocks parading around in their uniforms on game day, or banners saying "Go Generals!"

By the way, didn't you always hate those jocks?  They were popular, sometimes quite smart but just as often dumb as a brick, and could get away with anything.  In the hierarchy of sports, football players were king followed by baskeball, baseball, and track and field and wrestlers.  But all of us got a pass when it came to getting away with things.

They just went to school.  And I'll tell you, it was a happier, more relaxed bunch of kids at the German school than my old high school.  Now, you could argue that because this was a college-geared school, that other schools would do more poorly and have worse behavior problems.  Wrong.  No matter what level, kids performed better and got along better.  

Do I want us to become just like the German schools?  NO!  We're different, and there are some great things we have.  But I do think we should learn from them (and others), and see where we can make changes that work.  When you think about it, it's not just the Germans who don't have interscholastic sports.  Almost nobody else in the world does.  They have sports clubs that are unaffiliated with the schools.  Let's do that here.

I can't say that eliminating interscholastic sports will turn schools around overnight or that they are the only thing that needs changing. But these are SCHOOLS we're talking about, not sports academies.  Their purpose is to teach, to pass information from one generation to another, to prepare the entire student body to make it in life as adults; and interscholastic sports don't do that.  

About all they really do is get in the way of schools actually doing their jobs.

*German schools at the time were divided into three groups.  Hauptschule, which went from 7th through 9th grade and were for kids who wanted to go into the trades.  After 9th grade, they went into apprenticeships.  Realschule, which went from 7th through 10th and were for kids who chose the skilled professions such as nursing.  After 10th grade they typically went to training institutes.  The Gymnasium, which I attended, was for university-bound students.  There was a forth type which I hear is more common now: Gesamtschule, which incorporates all three into one 7th-12th grade school, much like here.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

School Budget

Our School budget vote went down in defeat two days ago.  I am disappointed because it was one of the smaller budget increases in our area as well as in recent years.  I know people are sick and tired of paying property taxes, but few seem to realize that school is an investment in the community's ongoing health.

In our district, we automatically go to a contingency budget if the proposed budget fails.  I took a look at it.  The sorts of things that are cut are field trips (which I think are particularly good for kids), hoped-for additional staff like a librarian, certian intramural sports, that sort of thing.  It's a long list because all the cuts are rather small -- $30,000 here, $5,000 there.  They needed to cut more than half a million.

Well, I have a sure-fire idea to get the budget passed next year -- and to make contingency budget planning much easier.  Rather than cut out many educationally enriching (but not state mandated) initiatives why not get rid of most of that money in one big chunk -- interscholastic sports?  If my numbers are right, our district spends about half a million -- that's $500,000 -- on interscholastic sports.  Perfect fit.

The reason it would guarantee passage is because nobody wants to lose their sports.  Get rid of music!  Get rid of art!  Get rid of special ed and the library and field trips but NOT our sports!  Some kid out there might get a scholarship to a school some day!

I'm telling you, if you make a contingency budget without interscholastic sports, people will pass any budget you give them the first time.  Because that's where people's hearts are.  After all, these sports get 10% of the student body up and moving, and they instill "School Spirit" (whatever that is), and we almost went to the state finals last year! 

But when you think about it, why are those sports in the budget in the first place?  What have they got to do with education?  If you want to talk scholarships, why not improve the educational input of the school so that, say, five percent more of the total student body gets academic scholarships rather than one percent of those ten percent of students who play sports?

I bet you could do a longitudinal study showing that schools without interscholastic sports do better academically than similar schools with such programs. Why?  Because the sports are a distraction from the main purpose of the schools.  Not only that, but they actually discourage phyisical health for the larger portion of the school.  And on a larger, more spiritual level, they teach our children to work against each other than with each other (despite talk of teamwork).

Over the next three days, I'm going to make my arguments about why interscholastic sports are more harmful than helpful.  In the meantime, budget planners -- think about cutting them from your contingency budget.  I guarantee you'll get whatever you want in the vote.

Monday, May 19, 2008


Today is Trinity Sunday.  You might know that already, in which case you'll know that Trinity Sunday is the only Feast Day of the year that doesn't commemorate a person or event either in scripture or the life of the church.

No, Trinity Sunday celebrates an idea.  Or maybe it's more acurate to say a relationship.

You can actually find a reference or two in the bible to the three members of the Trinity, but you'll never hear the word, and you'll not see a statement that says all three are God.  All one God yet all unuque and individual.  That's the concept:  God is one but made of three persons.

It took a long time for the church to come down to that formulation, one of the things they decided at the Nicene Council of 325 AD. 

You see, the problem is, it's really hard to grasp the idea of God being anything other than a single person.  Up until Jesus, people either had an individual God or lots of separate gods.  What WE have is neither.

What we have is an eternal relationship.  We are the only religion in the world where God isn't a person.  God is Love.  The Father loves the Son and the Holy Spirit, the Son loves Father and the Holy Spirit, and the the Holy Spirit loves the Father and the Son.  Always and forever.

It's Christian belief that if the three of them were not together, there would be no God.  Without this Community of Love, there would be no anything.

Because it's that loving relationship between Father Son and Holy Spirit that was able to get together and say, "Let's make something.  Something we can love together."  We are the result of that love.

That's why we have as the summary of our law that one word:  Love.  That's why we call ourselves a community of love.  It's not because we're all just dreamy-eyed unrealistic idealists who want to avoid conflict at all costs.  It's because there is nothing else -- not if we have any hope of knowing God.

The problem with the Trinity, with this Community of Love, is that the very concept changes everything for us.  If God is just a single person -- God the Father, let's say -- then there's no need for love.  God is all there is, and everything else is below him.  We should be afraid because we are nothing, can never be anything to him other than perhaps a pet.  A lone God cannot love because the concept of love requires equal partners.  

If it's not one God but several gods -- well you know mythology.  All that is is a reflection of how humans bicker and fight, but with super powers.  We should be afraid because they're too caught up in their own soap operas to care about us.  Which they don't in the mythologies.

But if God is a community of love -- and if it's that relationship that makes God -- then we can rejoice because all God can do in relationship to us is love.  As we discussed last week, that means to seek the highest good.

And if we want to know God, there's only one course of action for us.  To love.  To seek the highest good for all.  It's not wimpy -- it's the bravest action there is.  Because, for some reason, it's always easier to lash out, to get revenge, to destroy than it is to build up, to show patience, and to forgive. 

So, if we are Trinitarians, there's only one course of action -- to love.  You might get sick of me saying it, but there is nothing else.  It's a simple concept and eternally difficult to live out.  

That's why we have the church -- to place where we can become the community of love in a world that doesn't always acknowledge God as Love.  Christianity is a relational faith -- Christians are all about that relationship with God and each other.  That's why we say there can't be any "lone ranger" Christians.  It's not about experiencing the divine in nature -- it's beautiful but not relational love.  To be a Christian means to be with others who commit themselves to loving God.

That's the Trinity.  Simple yet unfathomable.  An idea that isn't exactly stated in Scripture but that evolved once we understood that God is more complex than just a big guy in the clouds.  God is a community, a relationship -- or nothing.  

In the same way we, the church, are nothing -- unless we live our lives as the community of love.  Amen.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Empowered for What? -- A Sermon

Happy Pentecost.  And Happy Mother's Day.  One quick word about Mother's Day.  It's a day we tell Mom we love her and maybe take her to lunch -- for most folks, it's a fairly happy day.  For some, those who have had difficult relationships with their moms, or have lost them recently, or mothers who have lost a child -- it can be a difficult day.  But one thing we can remember -- whether your experiences have been beautiful and loving or distant and painful -- all moms have at least one significant role in our lives -- they give birth to us.

And each of us is here to live life as God desires.  So live that life well.

Now, speaking of giving birth, we know that the feast of Pentecost is the "Birthday of the Church."  We call it that because it was this day when the Holy Spirit came to the disciples and empowered them to be more than a mere collection of believers.  They went out into the world preaching, teaching, healing and really and truly being the church.

But look at the different things we get out of this infusion of the Holy Spirit, this rush of wind and this fire.  We get disciples speaking in different languages -- sort of an anti-tower-of babel where everyone can be understood again.  (Like the internet today where anyone anywhere can make themselves heard anywhere else in the world).  We get, as the prophet Joel says, prophesy from pretty much everyone.  We get, as Paul says, a variety of gifts: wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing and so on.  And of course, Jesus tells the disciples of perhaps the most important power, the power to forgive.

So, in this one moment, these disciples -- and by extension, you and I -- get a wide range of powers.  We are empowered.  You have at least some of these powers.  I have at least some.  We -- the church -- have them together.  And what shall we do with them?  

Because power -- even wonderful power -- can be squandered or abused if it's not understood.  

Paul gives us a hint about what we are empowered for.  In his letter to the Corinthians, he's addressing that very question:  Who has what power?  What power is better?  And What do we do with it?

Specifically, he was dealing with one group of folks who felt that their ability to "speak in tongues" made them extra special, more holy.*  To answer that, he said, "To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good."

That is, no matter how God has blessed you, no matter how holy you are, no matter what gifts you have -- as wonderful as they are -- your gifts are for the common good.

This week at our Confirmation Class we talked about ethics.  We said Christian ethics are different from just plain old ethics in that we have the great commandment as our bottom line.  Everything we do must first ask, "Is it the loving thing to do?"  We batted around the word "Love" for awhile but came up with a working definition that "Love seeks the highest good for everyone involved."

In other words, the common good.

Which is a roundabout way of saying that we are empowered -- more powerful than we probably know -- but not nothing.  This day when we once again remember that we are tied together by the Holy Spirit, that we are filled with that Spirit, that we are empowered -- it's also a day when we remember what all that power is for.

To help this family be healthy in its life with Christ, and then to share that highest good with the world.  Think of all those gifts:  languages, healing, prophecy, teaching -- they are meant to be shared, they are meant to lift up and strengthen not just our own family but those we've never seen or met, those who are near and those who are far.  Because Pentecost tells us that we are all connected like a rosary by the string of the Holy Spirit -- so everything we do through the Holy Spirit is for the common good.

Happy Birthday to the Church.  We have the power of the Holy Spirit and we know how we're meant to use it.  The next steps are up to us. 

*(If you don't know what speaking in tongues is, it's basically a form of ecstatic spiritual experience where the person starts speaking in a nonexistent language.  Problem is, the more people thought it made them special, the more people who miraculously got touched with this gift.  Paul essentially said, unless you've got an interpreter and a message for the whole church, do your speaking in tongues at home).