I've recently been charged with jumping the shark (an unforgivable sin), even though I was just having some search-engine generated fun. This shall not stand. I've had a lot of bloggable ideas floating around my head, so let's put a real meat-and-potatoes posting out there. Something anyone can use - at work, at home, or even at church.

Question: What is the #1 human need?

Answer: Love.

It's a four-letter word, and for some, an overly simplistic answer. But love here is not a couple on a park bench with a heart shape floating above. We use this word to define CONNECTION. Even the most solitary hermit needs to find a connection with Nature, while most of us greatly prefer to find that in the company of other humans. It is central to the human condition to need, search and find that connection. Once we do, we label it many different things (for example, if you're at Harding, you might call it camaraderie, even if you didn't know how to spell it), but I think the best word to use is community.

All of us need to be a part of a community, and all of us seek to find that community. A community is any entity with which you find a connection. This connection can be positive or negative, conscious or unconscious. We'll talk in a moment about the types of communities and what binds them together, but what you need to make clear is that all humans are in at least one community.

The communities you are a part of have a radical effect on your life, and are therefore well worth our study. After all, how many of us have heard of someone that just "fell in with the wrong kind of people?" Or think about it this way: why would we have the phrase "keeping up with the Joneses" if the Joneses weren't a part of a community we desparately wanted to stay in? Here's just a few things that the community (or communities) you're in can affect in your life:

  • Purchases - Peer pressure is always a strong motivator in spending, especially discretionary (see "Joneses" example above). However, the communities you are in can influence the advice you receieve, the products you hear about, and even the brands you prefer. After all, you're likely using the same toothpaste as your parents...

  • Worldview - As 1984 as it may sound, there is some validity to groupthink. Take a look at what happens to people within a racist organization, for example. That's an extreme result, but the people you are around will definitely serve to maintain or subvert certain beliefs and perspectives you have.

  • Mental Topics - If you listen to sports radio all the time like me, you know about Terrell Owens' latest media lash-out, or if you watch Jim Cramer's Mad Money, you'd know he's bullish on video game stocks right now. The connections you make with others determine the information you receive, and therefore, what you're thinking about right now.

Here's the payoff: you can use this Power of Community to your advantage! Here's some ideas I had, but I'm sure you can think of others:

  • Your Church - involvement is always a problem at even the largest of churches, so you can use this built-in environment for fostering community to lead to involvment, and by that, stronger relationships with God through His people. Communities build on share of information between people, so take every chance to make that possible between as many members as you can. One person speaking to many from a pulpit does create connection, but not near as much as a small group all sharing with each other. Seat your classes in circles or around tables, all facing each other. Involve the entire church in shared experiences, even small ones like everyone singing a kids song, WITH motions. Create chances for new shared experiences, like retreats, teambuilding exercises, socials and meals. If you're at the pulpit, recognize others in the congregation, as that creates another point of connection for everyone other than yourself. Actively encourage everyone to share their ideologies without fear of having the "right" answer.

  • Your Company - We call ourselves "team members" and "team leaders", but pehaps the right term is a Community Of Workers. Many companies harp on the shared experience of driving business for the company as a whole, but that's not enough. Teambuilding exercises create shared experiences out of work - new connection points for the community that build its strength. More importantly, at the workplace, you can take the time to GET UP and go talk to someone face-to-face instead of emailing them - this creates a much stronger shared experience for both of you, and it strengthens that relationship within the company. "Higher-ups" actually talking to "lower-downs" is INVALUABLE as a way of building vertical strength within a company. Many teams have community relationships within themselves, but not with the company as a whole. The result is a silo effect, where everyone's focused on thier own little realm without having a mind for the big picture. Don't create meetings, create relationships.

  • Your Family - Eating around the table is often seen as a way to build your family, because it creates equal points of connection within that community over one of the best shared experiences out there: FOOD. It's also important to seek out new ways to create connections within the family, things out of the norm. Baseball games, family game night, working out together, family bike rides, notes, cards, text messages during the day - any new way you can create a connection is valuable, because it develops the strength of your community.

I really think this concept of community has some legs, because it applies to practically anything involving people. I may even post some more applications of this concept later for you. In the mean time, what do you think? Tell me what's on your mind, and let's build a new online community.



So it's late, and I'm freakin tired because I just schlepped myself all the 6 hour drive to my alma mater, and I'm ready to crash. But first, a quick post. I passed a couple of schools on the way here that I would love to have graduated from:

Bland Elementary
No kiddin, this school really is BLAND! I have no clue what their mascot is, but can you imagine it?

We're the Bland Pirates!
Half hearted sigh: "Arrrrrr..."

I just think it's funny. All those Bland 3rd graders wishing desparately to grow up so they can grow up to be Bland 6th graders, so they can finally understand why everyone's snickering behind their backs.

Princeton High School
This one is BEGGING for resume fraud.
"So it says here you went to Princeton."
"Yes sir, that's true."
"So what was your major?"
"Uhh....Class Aide?"

Seriously though, their High School was more beautiful than most I've seen in cities. It was out in the middle of a huge field, like some distorted School Of Dreams (If you build it, they will drop out...). Princeton graduates, I salute you. And I wish you nothing but the best in pursuing that other Princeton. I hear they're taking applications all the time.

"And afterall, you're my wonderwall..."

P.S. Since I've recently been accused of jumping the shark, I'm going to have to do something to regain my tenuous hold on dignity. Look for a big, serious post after this weekend.




Ah, intermittent posts. I love thee.

Fun With Googlism

    • eric is out of the factory
    • eric is a concept
    • eric is an acronym for the educational resources information
    • eric is to be credited with this exhibit along with tamara
    • eric is the best python
    • eric is having a good day
    • eric is gone
    • eric is allergic to girls
    • eric is in the picture too
    • eric is sleepy
    • eric is the coolest
    • eric is soooooo cute
    • eric is the front man for this band
    • eric is no wilting flower
    • eric is real nice and so full of spice girls die to meet him men love to greet him
    • eric is on tour with disney on ice until further notice
"Live through this and you won't look back."



My pretty Firefox screen is alight with a full row of Blogger "B"s as I've been inspired to delve into the writings of my fellow bloggers. Big props go to Kent for the link here from his blog, and for links to many other amazing writers. Maybe it's because I came from a very conservative Church of Christ (i.e. songs must come from the hymnal), but I'm constantly amazed at the number of Christians that are joyously and passionately embracing the Web, and technology as a whole. Moving to Vista Ridge, my wife and I were amazed that they had an email list, and that people actuall read it! I think that religion so often around me has been completely focused on methods of introducing this guy we call "Jesus" to the world that jused to have great success "back then" but just don't apply to today's information-saturated crowd. The problem isn't anymore that people just don't know Christ. The problem is that they've met him already - through us - and gotten the wrong first impression.

It's inspiring, motiviating, startling and almost weird to hear people so thoroughly and proudly wrestle with what it means to be like Christ using such a public forum. I get this feeling like when I was in college - going to a Christian college, everyone there was completely open and almost in your face about their spirituality. It's a rare environment when Christians are so honest and vocal, and for a guy like me, it can be intimidating. I know in my mind that these people are all fallen, that they have their own secret sins, and that they're all just as much a sinner as I am. I know this, and yet I feel inferior. They so loudly proclaim their light that you can't see any darkness but your own. I know these are "real people," but sometimes I think they're on a different plane.

I think that's the hallmark of my Christianity. I KNOW that I'm a sinner. I KNOW that I'm a failure without the complete erasure of my sins - past, present, and future - by the blood of the overwhelmingly holy Christ. If I'm not forgiven, I'm going to Hell. No choice, no chance, no refuge. And that attitude will always fill my response to others - I'm no better than you, I'm no more than you, but there's a God I'd like to introduce you to. You may have met Him before, but trust me, you don't REALLY know Him. I don't, and I've been trying to for over 11 years. But, I think if you tried - honestly, without cynicism or sarcasm, without reservation or hesitation just TRIED - to meet the REAL Yahweh, it would change your life. And you'll spend the rest of it trying again and again and again.

"We read to know that we are not alone. We write to let others know that they are not alone."