Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Fascinating Wired article about the war between Facebook and Google.

I just finished watching an extraordinary film called "Baraka." I know I am late to the party on this one since it was made in 1992, but better late than never :)
This film strikes a powerful chord and I highly recommend checking it out. Apparently, the entire film is available on youtube and this link below is to the first ten minutes. Be aware, there is no dialog or subtitles, only music and imagery. (it is very MAE) The story is one of humanity and our relationship to nature, ourselves, and the eternal. Enjoy!

Michael Jackson Shot 3D Video Project Before Death
June 30, 2009 09:26 AM ET
Two weeks before he died, Michael Jackson wrapped up work on an elaborate production dubbed the "Dome Project" that could be the final finished video piece overseen by the King of Pop, The Associated Press has learned.

Jackson was apparently preparing to dazzle concert audiences in London with a high-tech show in which 3D images — some inspired by his "Thriller" era — would flash behind him as he performed on stage.

"It was a groundbreaking effort," said Vince Pace, whose company provided cameras for the shoot, a 3D system he created with filmmaker James Cameron.

"To think that Michael's gone now, that's probably the last documented footage of him to be shot in that manner," Pace said.

Two people with knowledge of the secretive project confirmed its existence Monday to the AP on condition they not be identified because they signed confidentiality agreements.

They said it was a five-week project filmed at Culver Studios, which 70 years ago was the set for the classic film "Gone With the Wind." Four sets were constructed for Jackson's production, including a cemetery recalling his 1983 "Thriller" video.

With 3D technology "the audience would have felt like they were visiting the 'Thriller' experience, like they were there," Pace said.

Shooting for the project lasted from June 1-9, with Jackson on the set most days. The project was in post-production, at the time of Jackson's death, and had been expected to be completed next month. It was not immediately clear what would be made of the video footage now.

Producer Robb Wagner, founder of music-video company Stimulated Inc., did not immediately return a message seeking comment on the project.

Michael Roth, a spokesman for Jackson's Los Angeles-based promoter AEG Live, said he hadn't heard about the production but did not rule that it could be part of the company's contract with the entertainer.

According to one of the people with knowledge of the project, a willow-thin, pallid Jackson left a memorable impression on the crew, arriving in a caravan of SUVs with hulking security guards in tow. The person said Jackson introduced himself to workers on the set and walked with a spring in his step but at one point needed assistance as he descended steps off a stage.

Besides the cemetery, one set was draped in black with an oversized portrait of Jackson in his "Thriller" werewolf costume. Another set was designed to simulate a lush jungle, and a fourth was built to replicate a construction site, with a screen in the back to allow projection of different backgrounds.

Taping took place in marathon sessions ending early in the morning. One scene filmed on the construction site set included scantily clad male dancers wearing carpenter's belts.

According to Stimulated's Web site, the company was hired to produce screen content for Jackson's planned comeback concerts in London. Stimulated has worked with Def Leppard and the Pussycat Dolls, and produced content for the Academy Awards and the Emmys.

Last year, U2 released the concert film "U2 3D," a film of the band's 2005-06 Vertigo tour, shot at several shows in South America with 3-D technology.

At the time, guitarist The Edge told The Associated Press the 3-D technology allowed "the songs to shine through."
Associated Press writers David Germain and Ryan Nakashima contributed to this report.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Synesthesia is a condition of human perception where one sense (hearing, vision, smell, taste or touch) triggers a response from one of your other senses. Studying synesthesia led me to a better understanding of the goals of MAE and was one of the foundations of the theory of multisensory aesthetic experience. Synesthesia actually IS multisensory aesthetic experience and this video captures the essence of it very creatively. Enjoy!

Synesthesia from Terri Timely on Vimeo.

Great article about micro-financing and the philosophy that helped inspire our 2009 campaign. This was printed from The Seattle Times at http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/PrintStory.pl?document_id=2009395980&zsection_id=2003925728&slug=philanthropists29&date=20090629

Monday, June 29, 2009


Microsoft researcher Adnan Mahmud and his wife, Nadia Khawaja, founded Jolkona, a nonprofit to encourage young philanthropists, no matter how small the donation.

Philanthropist Scott Oki is a retired Microsoft executive.


Jolkona Foundation: www.jolkona.org

SeeYourImpact: www.seeyourimpact.org
Microsoft veterans aim to make philanthropy more personal

By Kristi Heim

Seattle Times business reporter

Microsoft veterans are launching two Seattle nonprofits aimed at encouraging a new generation of philanthropists by using mobile phones, social networking and online connections between donors and people in need.

Each started by asking the same question: How could they involve more people, particularly the younger and less affluent, in philanthropy?

They eventually came to the same conclusion: More people would donate if they saw the difference even a small amount of money could make in another person's life.

"If they can actually see the impact of a $17 gift on a human life somewhere around the world, I believe that will open up the floodgates of hundreds of millions of micro-donors impacting the hundreds of millions of needy people around the world," said Scott Oki, a retired Microsoft executive and philanthropist for nearly two decades.

Oki and software entrepreneur Digvijay Chauhan started SeeYourImpact, a micro-charity portal that connects donors to causes and uses mobile phones to capture photos and videos from the field, showing how the donation is working.

Adnan Mahmud, a program manager at Microsoft Research, started the Jolkona Foundation with his wife, Nadia Khawaja, a University of Washington graduate student.

In the Bengali language, Jolkona means a drop of water. The site offers ways to invest in projects around the world, share with friends and see "proof of their impact."

Both SeeYourImpact and Jolkona are tapping into a generation that demands more control of their philanthropy. A generation accustomed to connecting around the world through Facebook now wants a face and a direct connection to someone they're helping.

Technology is "democratizing" philanthropy by giving people quick access to information about the issues and tools to take action, said Trevor Neilson, president of the Seattle advisory firm Global Philanthropy Group.

Everyone can do it

"Just a few years ago philanthropy was really seen as something that rich people do for poor people," he said. "The trend we're seeing now is that everyone can be philanthropic, and can organize themselves around issues they care about."

Oki has founded 16 nonprofits and served on about 100 boards in two decades. Yet, even with charities he knows well, something was missing. "How often have we seen our dollars at work impacting a human life?" he asked. "The answer is not very often."

Oki and his wife, Laurie, are longtime supporters of Seattle Children's hospital.

"Every time we had the occasion to visit the IC unit at a hospital to see the work these doctors are doing saving lives," Oki said, "it hits you at an emotional level to see the impact."

SeeYourImpact plans to work with nongovernmental organizations around the world, where workers using cellphones can take a picture from the field and upload it to the Web site. They can show the delivery of a $10 mosquito net, for example, or a person who is unable to walk getting around on a hand-powered tricycle.

The site is launching in India in October. Oki said Microsoft is helping him develop the technology platform.

Chauhan and Oki first met when Oki invested in Chauhan's startup, AskMe.com, a person-to-person Q&A site. Chauhan said Oki has been an inspirational figure for him since then.

"Just like any other immigrant from the developing world, I have been blessed to experience umpteen inspirational human stories of the impact of a helping hand in the life of courageous people fighting extreme odds," said Chauhan, a native of India.

The two men believe providing ground-level evidence of positive change will encourage many more people to get involved.

"There aren't as many people who can write seven-digit checks," Oki said. "Many more can write two-digit checks."

Mahmud's inspiration came after a trip to Bangladesh, where he witnessed a man burying his 7-year-old son. Traditions call for wrapping the body in clean, white linen, but the man clearly didn't have money for that.

"There were vendors selling cloth for 50 cents or a dollar," Mahmud said. "I could have helped him, but by the time I came to the realization I was already back home."

Jolkona launched its Web site this month. Similar to Kiva and Global Giving, sites that allow people to give small targeted donations or loans, Jolkona lets people channel funds to specific individuals and causes. The nonprofit also gives them new tools for monitoring their impact.

Mahmud said he was put off by large conventional charities because it was hard to choose specific programs or know exactly how contributions were used.

"Black hole"

"It goes into this black hole," he said. "I don't know what happens to it."

Donors can pinpoint countries where they want to contribute and choose from five categories: cultural identity, education, empowerment, environment and public health. Projects can be filtered by the amount of dollars needed, going down to as little as $5, and the duration, from less than a month to six years.

The site also offers what it calls "tangible proofs for every gift."

"If you give $50 to buy library books," Mahmud said, "you'll actually know what books they bought with your donation."

A person's donations are broken into charts and graphs that look as detailed as a 401(k) portfolio. Mahmud calls it "a résumé of good."

He opens up his account and sees an update on a project he's been supporting in India, helping a pregnant woman in a Calcutta slum.

"Look, on the 20th she had her baby," he said. "Adopting" a mother and her baby costs $235, and donors can follow their progress for 3-½ years.

Mahmud and his wife have funded the nonprofit themselves, with help from volunteers and one paid software developer. They have found 19 partners and 39 projects.

Since all donations go to the charities, they created a separate button for donations to offset operating costs.

Connections important

These new efforts share similarities to long-standing child sponsorships from organizations such as Save the Children or Federal Way-based World Vision that let donors get photos and even correspond directly with the child they support.

But Jolkona and SeeYourImpact offer a wider range of projects and online tools to keep track of their donation.

Matthew Nelson, assistant vice president at the Council on Foundations, says the philanthropy world in general is embracing new Web tools and different models to engage younger donors.

The economic downturn creates pressure to innovate, and technologies are becoming easier to use and more affordable.

"Visually it's a powerful marketing message and a great way to make a connection between donor and recipient," he said.

But he said he's cautious about the ability of these sites to measure impact.

"Impact has a much deeper meaning, and that is something traditional philanthropy has continued to home in on, measuring in a more holistic sense. Did the bicycle get ridden? Did the well provide water a year later? Did you actually change their lives?" he said.

"One is not good without the other."

Kristi Heim: 206-464-2718 or kheim@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

Very very interesting...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Zach and I are safely in Knoxville, TN after a long 8.5 hour drive today from VA. We had a great afternoon listening to music and talking about everything that has been happening recently. We arrived around 7pm and went straight to the evening session of the Destination Imagination challenge development where we learned about the goals of the weekend. We were given an incredible welcome and were asked to speak briefly about our goals for the year and what brought us to work with DI. Everyone has been incredibly friendly and we were treated to an incredible dinner followed by karaoke and drinks. It was a fun night and I got some great footage that you will see soon :)
So tomorrow we are up at 6:30 to begin an intense three days of work on the challenges for the international community of kids in the DI network. We are not quite sure what to expect but I will keep you posted!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Continuing in the spirit of humor today...
This photo was taken by my great friend Brendan Klein in San Diego.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sometimes, its just a bad day...

My favorite band photo so far...
If you look closely you can see that we are barefoot for summer. There is something about this shot that feels like it captures the essence of mae. The location of the shoot was a beautiful little art museum on the bay in Norfolk. The property itself feels like a time warp to 1800's English countryside. There were a lot of incredible shots from this location that will eventually make their way into flicker or our photo book at the end of this project :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sorry I'm Late from Tomas Mankovsky on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Following is the prepared text of the speech delivered by Dana Gioia at Commencement on June 17, 2007
L.A. Cicero Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts

Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, delivered the Commencement address June 17.

Good morning.

Thank you, President Hennessy.

It is a great honor to be asked to give the Commencement address at my alma mater. Although I have two degrees from Stanford, I still feel a bit like an interloper on this exquisitely beautiful campus. A person never really escapes his or her childhood.

At heart I'm still a working-class kid—half Italian, half Mexican—from L.A., or more precisely from Hawthorne, a city that most of this audience knows only as the setting of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown—two films that capture the ineffable charm of my hometown.

Today is Father's Day, so I hope you will indulge me for beginning on a personal note. I am the first person in my family ever to attend college, and I owe my education to my father, who sacrificed nearly everything to give his four children the best education possible.

My dad had a fairly hard life. He never spoke English until he went to school. He barely survived a plane crash in World War II. He worked hard, but never had much success, except with his family.

When I was about 12, my dad told me that he hoped I would go to Stanford, a place I had never heard of. For him, Stanford represented every success he had missed yet wanted for his children. He would be proud of me today—no matter how dull my speech.

On the other hand, I may be fortunate that my mother isn't here. It isn't Mother's Day, so I can be honest. I loved her dearly, but she could be a challenge. For example, when she learned I had been nominated to be chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, she phoned and said, "Don't think I'm impressed."

I know that there was a bit of controversy when my name was announced as the graduation speaker. A few students were especially concerned that I lacked celebrity status. It seemed I wasn't famous enough. I couldn't agree more. As I have often told my wife and children, "I'm simply not famous enough."

And that—in a more general and less personal sense—is the subject I want to address today, the fact that we live in a culture that barely acknowledges and rarely celebrates the arts or artists.

There is an experiment I'd love to conduct. I'd like to survey a cross-section of Americans and ask them how many active NBA players, Major League Baseball players, and American Idol finalists they can name.

Then I'd ask them how many living American poets, playwrights, painters, sculptors, architects, classical musicians, conductors, and composers they can name.

I'd even like to ask how many living American scientists or social thinkers they can name.

Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey.

I don't think that Americans were smarter then, but American culture was. Even the mass media placed a greater emphasis on presenting a broad range of human achievement.

I grew up mostly among immigrants, many of whom never learned to speak English. But at night watching TV variety programs like the Ed Sullivan Show or the Perry Como Music Hall, I saw—along with comedians, popular singers, and movie stars—classical musicians like Jascha Heifetz and Arthur Rubinstein, opera singers like Robert Merrill and Anna Moffo, and jazz greats like Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong captivate an audience of millions with their art.

The same was even true of literature. I first encountered Robert Frost, John Steinbeck, Lillian Hellman, and James Baldwin on general interest TV shows. All of these people were famous to the average American—because the culture considered them important.

Today no working-class or immigrant kid would encounter that range of arts and ideas in the popular culture. Almost everything in our national culture, even the news, has been reduced to entertainment, or altogether eliminated.

The loss of recognition for artists, thinkers, and scientists has impoverished our culture in innumerable ways, but let me mention one. When virtually all of a culture's celebrated figures are in sports or entertainment, how few possible role models we offer the young.

There are so many other ways to lead a successful and meaningful life that are not denominated by money or fame. Adult life begins in a child's imagination, and we've relinquished that imagination to the marketplace.

Of course, I'm not forgetting that politicians can also be famous, but it is interesting how our political process grows more like the entertainment industry each year. When a successful guest appearance on the Colbert Report becomes more important than passing legislation, democracy gets scary. No wonder Hollywood considers politics "show business for ugly people."

Everything now is entertainment. And the purpose of this omnipresent commercial entertainment is to sell us something. American culture has mostly become one vast infomercial.

I have a reccurring nightmare. I am in Rome visiting the Sistine Chapel. I look up at Michelangelo's incomparable fresco of the "Creation of Man." I see God stretching out his arm to touch the reclining Adam's finger. And then I notice in the other hand Adam is holding a Diet Pepsi.

When was the last time you have seen a featured guest on David Letterman or Jay Leno who isn't trying to sell you something? A new movie, a new TV show, a new book, or a new vote?

Don't get me wrong. I love entertainment, and I love the free market. I have a Stanford MBA and spent 15 years in the food industry. I adore my big-screen TV. The productivity and efficiency of the free market is beyond dispute. It has created a society of unprecedented prosperity.

But we must remember that the marketplace does only one thing—it puts a price on everything.

The role of culture, however, must go beyond economics. It is not focused on the price of things, but on their value. And, above all, culture should tell us what is beyond price, including what does not belong in the marketplace. A culture should also provide some cogent view of the good life beyond mass accumulation. In this respect, our culture is failing us.

There is only one social force in America potentially large and strong enough to counterbalance this profit-driven commercialization of cultural values, our educational system, especially public education. Traditionally, education has been one thing that our nation has agreed cannot be left entirely to the marketplace—but made mandatory and freely available to everyone.

At 56, I am just old enough to remember a time when every public high school in this country had a music program with choir and band, usually a jazz band, too, sometimes even orchestra. And every high school offered a drama program, sometimes with dance instruction. And there were writing opportunities in the school paper and literary magazine, as well as studio art training.

I am sorry to say that these programs are no longer widely available to the new generation of Americans. This once visionary and democratic system has been almost entirely dismantled by well-meaning but myopic school boards, county commissioners, and state officials, with the federal government largely indifferent to the issue. Art became an expendable luxury, and 50 million students have paid the price. Today a child's access to arts education is largely a function of his or her parents' income.

In a time of social progress and economic prosperity, why have we experienced this colossal cultural and political decline? There are several reasons, but I must risk offending many friends and colleagues by saying that surely artists and intellectuals are partly to blame. Most American artists, intellectuals, and academics have lost their ability to converse with the rest of society. We have become wonderfully expert in talking to one another, but we have become almost invisible and inaudible in the general culture.

This mutual estrangement has had enormous cultural, social, and political consequences. America needs its artists and intellectuals, and they need to reestablish their rightful place in the general culture. If we could reopen the conversation between our best minds and the broader public, the results would not only transform society but also artistic and intellectual life.

There is no better place to start this rapprochement than in arts education. How do we explain to the larger society the benefits of this civic investment when they have been convinced that the purpose of arts education is mostly to produce more artists—hardly a compelling argument to either the average taxpayer or financially strapped school board?

We need to create a new national consensus. The purpose of arts education is not to produce more artists, though that is a byproduct. The real purpose of arts education is to create complete human beings capable of leading successful and productive lives in a free society.

This is not happening now in American schools. Even if you forget the larger catastrophe that only 70 percent of American kids now graduate from high school, what are we to make of a public education system whose highest goal seems to be producing minimally competent entry-level workers?

The situation is a cultural and educational disaster, but it also has huge and alarming economic consequences. If the United States is to compete effectively with the rest of the world in the new global marketplace, it is not going to succeed through cheap labor or cheap raw materials, nor even the free flow of capital or a streamlined industrial base. To compete successfully, this country needs continued creativity, ingenuity, and innovation.

It is hard to see those qualities thriving in a nation whose educational system ranks at the bottom of the developed world and has mostly eliminated the arts from the curriculum.

I have seen firsthand the enormous transformative power of the arts—in the lives of individuals, in communities, and even society at large.

Marcus Aurelius believed that the course of wisdom consisted of learning to trade easy pleasures for more complex and challenging ones. I worry about a culture that bit by bit trades off the challenging pleasures of art for the easy comforts of entertainment. And that is exactly what is happening—not just in the media, but in our schools and civic life.

Entertainment promises us a predictable pleasure—humor, thrills, emotional titillation, or even the odd delight of being vicariously terrified. It exploits and manipulates who we are rather than challenges us with a vision of who we might become. A child who spends a month mastering Halo or NBA Live on Xbox has not been awakened and transformed the way that child would be spending the time rehearsing a play or learning to draw.

If you don't believe me, you should read the statistical studies that are now coming out about American civic participation. Our country is dividing into two distinct behavioral groups. One group spends most of its free time sitting at home as passive consumers of electronic entertainment. Even family communication is breaking down as members increasingly spend their time alone, staring at their individual screens.

The other group also uses and enjoys the new technology, but these individuals balance it with a broader range of activities. They go out—to exercise, play sports, volunteer and do charity work at about three times the level of the first group. By every measure they are vastly more active and socially engaged than the first group.

What is the defining difference between passive and active citizens? Curiously, it isn't income, geography, or even education. It depends on whether or not they read for pleasure and participate in the arts. These cultural activities seem to awaken a heightened sense of individual awareness and social responsibility.

Why do these issues matter to you? This is the culture you are about to enter. For the last few years you have had the privilege of being at one of the world's greatest universities—not only studying, but being a part of a community that takes arts and ideas seriously. Even if you spent most of your free time watching Grey's Anatomy, playing Guitar Hero, or Facebooking your friends, those important endeavors were balanced by courses and conversations about literature, politics, technology, and ideas.

Distinguished graduates, your support system is about to end. And you now face the choice of whether you want to be a passive consumer or an active citizen. Do you want to watch the world on a screen or live in it so meaningfully that you change it?

That's no easy task, so don't forget what the arts provide.

Art is an irreplaceable way of understanding and expressing the world—equal to but distinct from scientific and conceptual methods. Art addresses us in the fullness of our being—simultaneously speaking to our intellect, emotions, intuition, imagination, memory, and physical senses. There are some truths about life that can be expressed only as stories, or songs, or images.

Art delights, instructs, consoles. It educates our emotions. And it remembers. As Robert Frost once said about poetry, "It is a way of remembering that which it would impoverish us to forget." Art awakens, enlarges, refines, and restores our humanity. You don't outgrow art. The same work can mean something different at each stage of your life. A good book changes as you change.

My own art is poetry, though my current daily life sometimes makes me forget that. So let me end my remarks with a short poem appropriate to the occasion.


Praise to the rituals that celebrate change,
old robes worn for new beginnings,
solemn protocol where the mutable soul,
surrounded by ancient experience, grows
young in the imagination's white dress.

Because it is not the rituals we honor
but our trust in what they signify, these rites
that honor us as witnesses—whether to watch
lovers swear loyalty in a careless world
or a newborn washed with water and oil.

So praise to innocence—impulsive and evergreen—
and let the old be touched by youth's
wayward astonishment at learning something new,
and dream of a future so fitting and so just
that our desire will bring it into being.

Congratulations to the Class of 2007.


Friday, June 12, 2009

I was doing some reading today and I stumbled across a fascinating article by one of my favorite authors; Malcom Gladwell. Gladwell is famous for his books "The Tipping Point" and "Blink." He has a new book called "Outliers" that Zach and I have been reading through about the hidden details of great achievement.
Gladwell often writes for the New Yorker Magazine and as I was reading through some of his older articles, I was struck by one in particular.
Most of you probably remember the US Presidential debates last year beginning in a church called Saddleback. The debate dealt with a variety of issues including an open discussion about the role of faith and spirituality in modern culture. Pastor Rick Warren hosted the debate and it garnered a great deal of attention and generated discussion on many different fronts. In 2005, Gladwell had written an article in the New Yorker about how Pastor Warren had built his ministry and I thought it was worth sharing here. Enjoy and let me know what stands out to you in this piece.

Here is the article from www.gladwell.com

The Cellular Church

September 12, 2005
Letter From Saddleback

How Rick Warren built his ministry.


On the occasion of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Saddleback Church, Rick Warren hired the Anaheim Angels' baseball stadium. He wanted to address his entire congregation at once, and there was no way to fit everyone in at Saddleback, where the crowds are spread across services held over the course of an entire weekend. So Warren booked the stadium and printed large, silver-black-and-white tickets, and, on a sunny Sunday morning last April, the tens of thousands of congregants of one of America's largest churches began to file into the stands. They were wearing shorts and T-shirts and buying Cokes and hamburgers from the concession stands, if they had not already tailgated in the parking lot. On the field, a rock band played loudly and enthusiastically. Just after one o'clock, a voice came over the public-address system—"RIIIICK WARRRREN"—and Warren bounded onto the stage, wearing black slacks, a red linen guayabera shirt, and wraparound NASCAR sunglasses. The congregants leaped to their feet."You know," Warren said, grabbing the microphone, "there are two things I've always wanted to do in a stadium." He turned his body sideways, playing an imaginary guitar, and belted out the first few lines of Jimi Hendrix's "Purple Haze." His image was up on the Jumbotrons in right and left fields, just below the Verizon and Pepsi and Budweiser logos. He stopped and grinned. "The other thing is, I want to do a wave!" He pointed to the bleachers, and then to the right-field seats, and around and around the stadium the congregation rose and fell, in four full circuits. "You are the most amazing church in America!" Warren shouted out, when they had finally finished. "AND I LOVE YOU!"


Rick Warren is a large man, with a generous stomach. He has short, spiky hair and a goatee. He looks like an ex-athlete, or someone who might have many tattoos. He is a hugger, enfolding those he meets in his long arms and saying things like "Hey, man." According to Warren, from sixth grade through college there wasn't a day in his life that he wasn't president of something, and that makes sense, because he's always the one at the center of the room talking or laughing, with his head tilted way back, or crying, which he does freely. In the evangelical tradition, preachers are hard or soft. Billy Graham, with his piercing eyes and protruding chin and Bible clenched close to his chest, is hard. So was Martin Luther King, Jr., who overwhelmed his audience with his sonorous, forcefully enunciated cadences. Warren is soft. His sermons are conversational, delivered in a folksy, raspy voice. He talks about how he loves Krispy Kreme doughnuts, drives a four-year-old Ford, and favors loud Hawaiian shirts, even at the pulpit, because, he says, "they do not itch."

In December of 1979, when Warren was twenty-five years old, he and his wife, Kay, took their four-month-old baby and drove in a U-Haul from Texas to Saddleback Valley, in Orange County, because Warren had read that it was one of the fastest-growing counties in the country. He walked into the first real-estate office he found and introduced himself to the first agent he saw, a man named Don Dale. He was looking for somewhere to live, he said.

"Do you have any money to rent a house?" Dale asked.
"Not much, but we can borrow some," Warren replied.
"Do you have a job?"
"No. I don't have a job."
"What do you do for a living?"
"I'm a minister."
"So you have a church?"
"Not yet."

Dale found him an apartment that very day, of course: Warren is one of those people whose lives have an irresistible forward momentum. In the car on the way over, he recruited Dale as the first member of his still nonexistent church, of course. And when he held his first public service, three months later, he stood up in front of two hundred and five people he barely knew in a high-school gymnasium—this shiny-faced preacher fresh out of seminary—and told them that one day soon their new church would number twenty thousand people and occupy a campus of fifty acres. Today, Saddleback Church has twenty thousand members and occupies a campus of a hundred and twenty acres. Once, Warren wanted to increase the number of small groups at Saddleback—the groups of six or seven that meet for prayer and fellowship during the week—by three hundred. He went home and prayed and, as he tells it, God said to him that what he really needed to do was increase the number of small groups by three thousand, which is just what he did. Then, a few years ago, he wrote a book called "The Purpose-Driven Life," a genre of book that is known in the religious-publishing business as "Christian Living," and that typically sells thirty or forty thousand copies a year. Warren's publishers came to see him at Saddleback, and sat on the long leather couch in his office, and talked about their ideas for the book. "You guys don't understand," Warren told them. "This is a hundred-million-copy book." Warren remembers stunned silence: "Their jaws dropped." But now, nearly three years after its publication, "The Purpose-Driven Life" has sold twenty-three million copies. It is among the best-selling nonfiction hardcover books in American history. Neither the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, nor the Washington Post has reviewed it. Warren's own publisher didn't see it coming. Only Warren had faith. "The best of the evangelical tradition is that you don't plan your way forward—you prophesy your way forward," the theologian Leonard Sweet says. "Rick's prophesying his way forward."

Not long after the Anaheim service, Warren went back to his office on the Saddleback campus. He put his feet up on the coffee table. On the wall in front of him were framed originals of the sermons of the nineteenth-century preacher Charles Spurgeon, and on the bookshelf next to him was his collection of hot sauces. "I had dinner with Jack Welch last Sunday night," he said. "He came to church, and we had dinner. I've been kind of mentoring him on his spiritual journey. And he said to me, 'Rick, you are the biggest thinker I have ever met in my life. The only other person I know who thinks globally like you is Rupert Murdoch.' And I said, 'That's interesting. I'm Rupert's pastor! Rupert published my book!'" Then he tilted back his head and gave one of those big Rick Warren laughs.


Churches, like any large voluntary organization, have at their core a contradiction. In order to attract newcomers, they must have low barriers to entry. They must be unintimidating, friendly, and compatible with the culture they are a part of. In order to retain their membership, however, they need to have an identity distinct from that culture. They need to give their followers a sense of community—and community, exclusivity, a distinct identity are all, inevitably, casualties of growth. As an economist would say, the bigger an organization becomes, the greater a free-rider problem it has. If I go to a church with five hundred members, in a magnificent cathedral, with spectacular services and music, why should I volunteer or donate any substantial share of my money? What kind of peer pressure is there in a congregation that large? If the barriers to entry become too low—and the ties among members become increasingly tenuous—then a church as it grows bigger becomes weaker.

One solution to the problem is simply not to grow, and, historically, churches have sacrificed size for community. But there is another approach: to create a church out of a network of lots of little church cells—exclusive, tightly knit groups of six or seven who meet in one another's homes during the week to worship and pray. The small group as an instrument of community is initially how Communism spread, and in the postwar years Alcoholics Anonymous and its twelve-step progeny perfected the small-group technique. The small group did not have a designated leader who stood at the front of the room. Members sat in a circle. The focus was on discussion and interaction—not one person teaching and the others listening—and the remarkable thing about these groups was their power. An alcoholic could lose his job and his family, he could be hospitalized, he could be warned by half a dozen doctors—and go on drinking. But put him in a room of his peers once a week—make him share the burdens of others and have his burdens shared by others—and he could do something that once seemed impossible.

When churches—in particular, the megachurches that became the engine of the evangelical movement, in the nineteen-seventies and eighties—began to adopt the cellular model, they found out the same thing. The small group was an extraordinary vehicle of commitment. It was personal and flexible. It cost nothing. It was convenient, and every worshipper was able to find a small group that precisely matched his or her interests. Today, at least forty million Americans are in a religiously based small group, and the growing ranks of small-group membership have caused a profound shift in the nature of the American religious experience."

As I see it, one of the most unfortunate misunderstandings of our time has been to think of small intentional communities as groups 'within' the church," the philosopher Dick Westley writes in one of the many books celebrating the rise of small-group power. "When are we going to have the courage to publicly proclaim what everyone with any experience with small groups has known all along: they are not organizations 'within' the church; they are church."

Ram Cnaan, a professor of social work at the University of Pennsylvania, recently estimated the replacement value of the charitable work done by the average American church—that is, the amount of money it would take to equal the time, money, and resources donated to the community by a typical congregation—and found that it came to about a hundred and forty thousand dollars a year. In the city of Philadelphia, for example, that works out to an annual total of two hundred and fifty million dollars' worth of community "good"; on a national scale, the contribution of religious groups to the public welfare is, as Cnaan puts it, "staggering." In the past twenty years, as the enthusiasm for publicly supported welfare has waned, churches have quietly and steadily stepped in to fill the gaps. And who are the churchgoers donating all that time and money? People in small groups. Membership in a small group is a better predictor of whether people volunteer or give money than how often they attend church, whether they pray, whether they've had a deep religious experience, or whether they were raised in a Christian home. Social action is not a consequence of belief, in other words. I don't give because I believe in religious charity. I give because I belong to a social structure that enforces an ethic of giving. "Small groups are networks," the Princeton sociologist Robert Wuthnow, who has studied the phenomenon closely, says. "They create bonds among people. Expose people to needs, provide opportunities for volunteering, and put people in harm's way of being asked to volunteer. That's not to say that being there for worship is not important. But, even in earlier research, I was finding that if people say all the right things about being a believer but aren't involved in some kind of physical social setting that generates interaction, they are just not as likely to volunteer."

Rick Warren came to the Saddle-back Valley just as the small-group movement was taking off. He was the son of a preacher—a man who started seven churches in and around Northern California and was enough of a carpenter to have built a few dozen more with his own hands—and he wanted to do what his father had done: start a church from scratch.

For the first three months, he went from door to door in the neighborhood around his house, asking people why they didn't attend church. Churches were boring and irrelevant to everyday life, he was told. They were unfriendly to visitors. They were too interested in money. They had inadequate children's programs. So Warren decided that in his new church people would play and sing contemporary music, not hymns. (He could find no one, Warren likes to say, who listened to organ music in the car.) He would wear the casual clothes of his community. The sermons would be practical and funny and plainspoken, and he would use video and drama to illustrate his message. And when an actual church was finally built—Saddleback used seventy-nine different locations in its first thirteen years, from high-school auditoriums to movie theatres and then tents before building a permanent home—the church would not look churchy: no pews, or stained glass, or lofty spires. Saddleback looks like a college campus, and the main sanctuary looks like the school gymnasium. Parking is plentiful. The chairs are comfortable. There are loudspeakers and television screens everywhere broadcasting the worship service, and all the doors are open, so anyone can slip in or out, at any time, in the anonymity of the enormous crowds. Saddle-back is a church with very low barriers to entry.

But beneath the surface is a network of thousands of committed small groups. "Orange County is virtually a desert in social-capital terms," the Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam, who has taken a close look at the Saddleback success story, says. "The rate of mobility is really high. It has long and anonymous commutes. It's a very friendless place, and this church offers serious heavy friendship. It's a very interesting experience to talk to some of those groups. There were these eight people and they were all mountain bikers—mountain bikers for God. They go biking together, and they are one another's best friends. If one person's wife gets breast cancer, he can go to the others for support. If someone loses a job, the others are there for him. They are deeply best friends, in a larger social context where it is hard to find a best friend."

Putnam goes on, "Warren didn't invent the cellular church. But he's brought it to an amazing level of effectiveness. The real job of running Saddleback is the recruitment and training and retention of the thousands of volunteer leaders for all the small groups it has. That's the surprising thing to me—that they are able to manage that. Those small groups are incredibly vulnerable, and complicated to manage. How to keep all those little dinghies moving in the same direction is, organizationally, a major accomplishment."

At Saddleback, members are expected to tithe, and to volunteer. Sunday-school teachers receive special training and a police background check. Recently, Warren decided that Saddleback would feed every homeless person in Orange County three meals a day for forty days. Ninety-two hundred people volunteered. Two million pounds of food were collected, sorted, and distributed.

It may be easy to start going to Saddleback. But it is not easy to stay at Saddleback. "Last Sunday, we took a special offering called Extend the Vision, for people to give over and above their normal offering," Warren said. "We decided we would not use any financial consultants, no high-powered gimmicks, no thermometer on the wall. It was just 'Folks, you know you need to give.' Sunday's offering was seven million dollars in cash and fifty-three million dollars in commitments. That's one Sunday. The average commitment was fifteen thousand dollars a family. That's in addition to their tithe. When people say megachurches are shallow, I say you have no idea. These people are committed."

Warren's great talent is organizational. He's not a theological innovator. When he went from door to door, twenty-five years ago, he wasn't testing variants on the Christian message. As far as he was concerned, the content of his message was non-negotiable. Theologically, Warren is a straight-down-the-middle evangelical. What he wanted to learn was how to construct an effective religious institution. His interest was sociological. Putnam compares Warren to entrepreneurs like Ray Kroc and Sam Walton, pioneers not in what they sold but in how they sold. The contemporary thinker Warren cites most often in conversation is the management guru Peter Drucker, who has been a close friend of his for years. Before Warren wrote "The Purpose-Driven Life," he wrote a book called "The Purpose-Driven Church," which was essentially a how-to guide for church builders. He's run hundreds of training seminars around the world for ministers of small-to-medium-sized churches. At the beginning of the Internet boom, he created a Web site called pastors.com, on which he posted his sermons for sale for four dollars each. There were many pastors in the world, he reasoned, who were part time. They had a second, nine-to-five job and families of their own, and what little free time they had was spent ministering to their congregation. Why not help them out with Sunday morning? The Web site now gets nearly four hundred thousand hits a day.

"I went to South Africa two years ago," Warren said. "We did the purpose-driven-church training, and we simulcast it to ninety thousand pastors across Africa. After it was over, I said, 'Take me out to a village and show me some churches.'"

In the first village they went to, the local pastor came out, saw Warren, and said, "I know who you are. You're Pastor Rick."

"And I said, 'How do you know who I am?' " Warren recalled. "He said, 'I get your sermons every week.' And I said, 'How? You don't even have electricity here.' And he said, 'We're putting the Internet in every post office in South Africa. Once a week, I walk an hour and a half down to the post office. I download it. Then I teach it. You are the only training I have ever received.'"

A typical evangelist, of course, would tell stories about reaching ordinary people, the unsaved laity. But a typical evangelist is someone who goes from town to town, giving sermons to large crowds, or preaching to a broad audience on television. Warren has never pastored any congregation but Saddleback, and he refuses to preach on television, because that would put him in direct competition with the local pastors he has spent the past twenty years cultivating. In the argot of the New Economy, most evangelists follow a business-to-consumer model: b-to-c. Warren follows a business-to-business model: b-to-b. He reaches the people who reach people. He's a builder of religious networks. "I once heard Drucker say this," Warren said. "'Warren is not building a tent revival ministry, like the old-style evangelists. He's building an army, like the Jesuits.'"


To write "The Purpose-Driven Life," Warren holed up in an office in a corner of the Saddleback campus, twelve hours a day for seven months. "I would get up at four-thirty, arrive at my special office at five, and I would write from five to five," he said. "I'm a people person, and it about killed me to be alone by my-self. By eleven-thirty, my A.D.D. would kick in. I would do anything not to be there. It was like birthing a baby." The book didn't tell any stories. It wasn't based on any groundbreaking new research or theory or theological insight. "I'm just not that good a writer," Warren said. "I'm a pastor. There's nothing new in this book. But sometimes as I was writing it I would break down in tears. I would be weeping, and I would feel like God was using me."

The book begins with an inscription: "This book is dedicated to you. Before you were born, God planned this moment in your life. It is no accident that you are holding this book. God longs for you to discover the life he created you to live—here on earth, and forever in eternity." Five sections follow, each detailing one of God's purposes in our lives—"You Were Planned for God's Pleasure"; "You Were Formed for God's Family"; "You Were Created to Become Like Christ"; "You Were Shaped for Serving God"; "You Were Made for a Mission"—and each of the sections, in turn, is divided into short chapters ("Understanding Your Shape" or "Using What God Gave You" or "How Real Servants Act"). The writing is simple and unadorned. The scriptural interpretation is literal: "Noah had never seen rain, because prior to the Flood, God irrigated the earth from the ground up." The religious vision is uncomplicated and accepting: "God wants to be your best friend." Warren's Christianity, like his church, has low barriers to entry: "Wherever you are reading this, I invite you to bow your head and quietly whisper the prayer that will change your eternity. Jesus, I believe in you and I receive you. Go ahead. If you sincerely meant that prayer, congratulations! Welcome to the family of God! You are now ready to discover and start living God's purpose for your life."

It is tempting to interpret the book's message as a kind of New Age self-help theology. Warren's God is not awesome or angry and does not stand in judgment of human sin. He's genial and mellow. "Warren's God 'wants to be your best friend,' and this means, in turn, that God's most daunting property, the exercise of eternal judgment, is strategically downsized," the critic Chris Lehmann writes, echoing a common complaint:

"When Warren turns his utility-minded feel-speak upon the symbolic iconography of the faith, the results are offensively bathetic: "When Jesus stretched his arms wide on the cross, he was saying, 'I love you this much.' " But God needs to be at a greater remove than a group hug."

The self-help genre, however, is fundamentally inward-focussed. M. Scott Peck's "The Road Less Traveled"—the only spiritual work that, in terms of sales, can even come close to "The Purpose-Driven Life"—begins with the sentence "Life is difficult." That's a self-help book: it focusses the reader on his own experience. Warren's first sentence, by contrast, is "It's not about you," which puts it in the spirit of traditional Christian devotional literature, which focusses the reader outward, toward God. In look and feel, in fact, "The Purpose-Driven Life" is less twenty-first-century Orange County than it is the nineteenth century of Warren's hero, the English evangelist Charles Spurgeon. Spurgeon was the Warren of his day: the pastor of a large church in London, and the author of best-selling devotional books. On Sunday, good Christians could go and hear Spurgeon preach at the Metropolitan Tabernacle. But during the week they needed something to replace the preacher, and so Spurgeon, in one of his best-known books, "Morning and Evening," wrote seven hundred and thirty-two short homilies, to be read in the morning and the evening of each day of the year. The homilies are not complex investigations of theology. They are opportunities for spiritual reflection. (Sample Spurgeonism: "Every child of God is where God has placed him for some purpose, and the practical use of this first point is to lead you to inquire for what practical purpose has God placed each one of you where you now are." Sound familiar?) The Oxford Times described one of Spurgeon's books as "a rich store of topics treated daintily, with broad humour, with quaint good sense, yet always with a subdued tone and high moral aim," and that describes "The Purpose-Driven Life" as well. It's a spiritual companion. And, like "Morning and Evening," it is less a book than a program. It's divided into forty chapters, to be read during "Forty Days of Purpose." The first page of the book is called "My Covenant." It reads, "With God's help, I commit the next 40 days of my life to discovering God's purpose for my life."

Warren departs from Spurgeon, though, in his emphasis on the purpose-driven life as a collective experience. Below the boxed covenant is a space for not one signature but three: "Your name," "Partner's name," and then Rick Warren's signature, already printed, followed by a quotation from Ecclesiastes 4:9:

"Two are better off than one, because together they can work more effectively. If one of them falls down, the other can help him up. . . . Two people can resist an attack that would defeat one person alone. A rope made of three cords is hard to break."

"The Purpose-Driven Life" is meant to be read in groups. If the vision of faith sometimes seems skimpy, that's because the book is supposed to be supplemented by a layer of discussion and reflection and debate. It is a testament to Warren's intuitive understanding of how small groups work that this is precisely how "The Purpose-Driven Life" has been used. It spread along the network that he has spent his career putting together, not from person to person but from group to group. It presold five hundred thousand copies. It averaged more than half a million copies in sales a month in its first two years, which is possible only when a book is being bought in lots of fifty or a hundred or two hundred. Of those who bought the book as individuals, nearly half have bought more than one copy, sixteen per cent have bought four to six copies, and seven per cent have bought ten or more. Twenty-five thousand churches have now participated in the congregation-wide "40 Days of Purpose" campaign, as have hundreds of small groups within companies and organizations, from the N.B.A. to the United States Postal Service.

"I remember the first time I met Rick," says Scott Bolinder, the head of Zondervan, the Christian publishing division of HarperCollins and the publisher of "The Purpose-Driven Life." "He was telling me about pastors.com. This is during the height of the dot-com boom. I was thinking, What's your angle? He had no angle. He said, 'I love pastors. I know what they go through.' I said, 'What do you put on there?' He said, 'I put my sermons with a little disclaimer on there: "You are welcome to preach it any way you can. I only ask one thing—I ask that you do it better than I did."' So then fast-forward seven years: he's got hundreds of thousands of pastors who come to this Web site. And he goes, 'By the way, my church and I are getting ready to do forty days of purpose. If you want to join us, I'm going to preach through this and put my sermons up. And I've arranged with my publisher that if you do join us with this campaign they will sell the book to you for a low price.' That became the tipping point—being able to launch that book with eleven hundred churches, right from the get-go. They became the evangelists for the book."

The book's high-water mark came earlier this year, when a fugitive named Brian Nichols, who had shot and killed four people in an Atlanta courthouse, accosted a young single mother, Ashley Smith, outside her apartment, and held her captive in her home for seven hours.

"I asked him if I could read," Smith said at the press conference after her ordeal was over, and so she went and got her copy of "The Purpose-Driven Life" and turned to the chapter she was reading that day. It was Chapter 33, "How Real Servants Act." It begins:

"We serve God by serving others.

The world defines greatness in terms of power, possessions, prestige, and position. If you can demand service from others, you've arrived. In our self-serving culture with its me-first mentality, acting like a servant is not a popular concept.

Jesus, however, measured greatness in terms of service, not status. God determines your greatness by how many people you serve, not how many people serve you."

Nichols listened and said, "Stop. Will you read it again?"

Smith read it to him again. They talked throughout the night. She made him pancakes. "I said, 'Do you believe in miracles? Because if you don't believe in miracles — you are here for a reason. You're here in my apartment for some reason.' " She might as well have been quoting from "The Purpose-Driven Life." She went on, "You don't think you're supposed to be sitting here right in front of me listening to me tell you, you know, your reason for being here?" When morning came, Nichols let her go.

Hollywood could not have scripted a better testimonial for "The Purpose-Driven Life." Warren's sales soared further. But the real lesson of that improbable story is that it wasn't improbable at all. What are the odds that a young Christian—a woman who, it turns out, sends her daughter to Hebron Church, in Dacula, Georgia—isn't reading "The Purpose-Driven Life"? And is it surprising that Ashley Smith would feel compelled to read aloud from the book to her captor, and that, in the discussion that followed, Nichols would come to some larger perspective on his situation? She and Nichols were in a small group, and reading aloud from "The Purpose-Driven Life" is what small groups do.


Not long ago, the sociologist Christian Smith decided to find out what American evangelicals mean when they say that they believe in a "Christian America." The phrase seems to suggest that evangelicals intend to erode the separation of church and state. But when Smith asked a representative sample of evangelicals to explain the meaning of the phrase, the most frequent explanation was that America was founded by people who sought religious liberty and worked to establish religious freedom. The second most frequent explanation offered was that a majority of Americans of earlier generations were sincere Christians, which, as Smith points out, is empirically true. Others said what they meant by a Christian nation was that the basic laws of American government reflected Christian principles—which sounds potentially theocratic, except that when Smith asked his respondents to specify what they meant by basic laws they came up with representative government and the balance of powers.

"In other words," Smith writes, "the belief that America was once a Christian nation does not necessarily mean a commitment to making it a 'Christian' nation today, whatever that might mean. Some evangelicals do make this connection explicitly. But many discuss America's Christian heritage as a simple fact of history that they are not particularly interested in or optimistic about reclaiming. Further, some evangelicals think America never was a Christian nation; some think it still is; and others think it should not be a Christian nation, whether or not it was so in the past or is now."

As Smith explored one issue after another with the evangelicals—gender equality, education, pluralism, and politics—he found the same scattershot pattern. The Republican Party may have been adept at winning the support of evangelical voters, but that affinity appears to be as much cultural as anything; the Party has learned to speak the evangelical language. Scratch the surface, and the appearance of homogeneity and ideological consistency disappears. Evangelicals want children to have the right to pray in school, for example, and they vote for conservative Republicans who support that right. But what do they mean by prayer? The New Testament's most left-liberal text, the Lord's Prayer—which, it should be pointed out, begins with a call for utopian social restructuring ("Thy will be done, On earth as it is in Heaven"), then welfare relief ("Give us this day our daily bread"), and then income redistribution ("Forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors"). The evangelical movement isn't a movement, if you take movements to be characterized by a coherent philosophy, and that's hardly surprising when you think of the role that small groups have come to play in the evangelical religious experience. The answers that Smith got to his questions are the kind of answers you would expect from people who think most deeply about their faith and its implications on Tuesday night, or Wednesday, with five or six of their closest friends, and not Sunday morning, in the controlling hands of a pastor.

"Small groups cultivate spirituality, but it is a particular kind of spirituality," Robert Wuthnow writes. "They cannot be expected to nurture faith in the same way that years of theological study, meditation and reflection might." He says, "They provide ways of putting faith in practice. For the most part, their focus is on practical applications, not on abstract knowledge, or even on ideas for the sake of ideas themselves."

We are so accustomed to judging a social movement by its ideological coherence that the vagueness at the heart of evangelicalism sounds like a shortcoming. Peter Drucker calls Warren's network an army, like the Jesuits. But the Jesuits marched in lockstep and held to an all-encompassing and centrally controlled creed. The members of Warren's network don't all dress the same, and they march to the tune only of their own small group, and they agree, fundamentally, only on who the enemy is. It's not an army. It's an insurgency.

In the wake of the extraordinary success of "The Purpose-Driven Life," Warren says, he underwent a period of soul-searching. He had suddenly been given enormous wealth and influence and he did not know what he was supposed to do with it. "God led me to Psalm 72, which is Solomon's prayer for more influence," Warren says. "It sounds pretty selfish. Solomon is already the wisest and wealthiest man in the world. He's the King of Israel at the apex of its glory. And in that psalm he says, 'God, I want you to make me more powerful and influential.' It looks selfish until he says, 'So that the King may support the widow and orphan, care for the poor, defend the defenseless, speak up for the immigrant, the foreigner, be a friend to those in prison.' Out of that psalm, God said to me that the purpose of influence is to speak up for those who have no influence. That changed my life. I had to repent. I said, I'm sorry, widows and orphans have not been on my radar. I live in Orange County. I live in the Saddleback Valley, which is all gated communities. There aren't any homeless people around. They are thirteen miles away, in Santa Ana, not here." He gestured toward the rolling green hills outside. "I started reading through Scripture. I said, How did I miss the two thousand verses on the poor in the Bible? So I said, I will use whatever affluence and influence that you give me to help those who are marginalized."

He and his wife, Kay, decided to reverse tithe, giving away ninety per cent of the tens of millions of dollars they earned from "The Purpose-Driven Life." They sat down with gay community leaders to talk about fighting AIDS. Warren has made repeated trips to Africa. He has sent out volunteers to forty-seven countries around the world, test-piloting experiments in microfinance and H.I.V. prevention and medical education. He decided to take the same networks he had built to train pastors and spread the purpose-driven life and put them to work on social problems.

"There is only one thing big enough to handle the world's problems, and that is the millions and millions of churches spread out around the world," he says. "I can take you to thousands of villages where they don't have a school. They don't have a grocery store, don't have a fire department. But they have a church. They have a pastor. They have volunteers. The problem today is distribution. In the tsunami, millions of dollars of foodstuffs piled up on the shores and people couldn't get it into the places that needed it, because they didn't have a network. Well, the biggest distribution network in the world is local churches. There are millions of them, far more than all the franchises in the world. Put together, they could be a force for good."

That is, in one sense, a typical Warren pronouncement—bold to the point of audacity, like telling his publisher that his book will sell a hundred million copies. In another sense, it is profoundly modest. When Warren's nineteenth-century evangelical predecessors took on the fight against slavery, they brought to bear every legal, political, and economic lever they could get their hands on. But that was a different time, and that was a different church. Today's evangelicalism is a network, and networks, for better or worse, are informal and personal.

At the Anaheim stadium service, Warren laid out his plan for attacking poverty and disease. He didn't talk about governments, though, or the United Nations, or structures, or laws. He talked about the pastors he had met in his travels around the world. He brought out the President of Rwanda, who stood up at the microphone—a short, slender man in an immaculate black suit—and spoke in halting English about how Warren was helping him rebuild his country. When he was finished, the crowd erupted in applause, and Rick Warren walked across the stage and enfolded him in his long arms.