Dais: (n) a raised platform, as at the front of a room, for a lectern, throne, seats of honor, etc.

 If you want to be pretentious, everything has to match.

If you’re proclaiming yourself to be “up and coming,” then you certainly shouldn’t dress “down and out.”

If you want to appear athletic, then you should avoid all situations that might induce clumsiness.

Years ago, I started a work in Shreveport, Louisiana, which mingled spirituality, artistry, feeding the hungry and trying to answer youthful misgivings.

It was a little bit of nothing—but not in the sense of its mission.

To the outside viewer, we were insignificant–and occasionally annoying because we regularly took a troop of performers into the streets in full makeup, often including dancing.

This might be odd for any community, but for Shreveport, Louisiana, it was the Abomination of Desolation.

Yet quite a few individuals flowed in our direction, some of them offering their hearts and others merely showing up to display their bills.

In the midst of this fledgling effort, a dear, old friend of mine who once had a church offered me a huge, spacious pulpit—a truly holy dais.

He was so supportive, so intrigued with our efforts as young, spiritual investigators, that he took something sacred to him and offered it into our very relaxed irreverence.

I felt compelled to use it.

I wasn’t sure how.

So in our very tiny meeting room, I inserted this huge monstrosity of wooden construction—somewhat like Noah’s Ark.

I stood behind it to share my thoughts and make announcements about the upcoming week’s adventures.

It was a Saturday Night Live sketch—but much more pitiful.

Everybody grumbled.

Matter of fact, a rebellion broke out the first night I used it, with people complaining that I had changed and become a cleric instead of a friend.

I had not changed.

But I had placed myself behind something that was not me.

I tried using it two more times (simply because I was apparently trying to increase the pain.)

Finally, I apologized to my friends, and also to my buddy. I gave him back the pulpit. (He was thrilled, because a church down the road had offered him five hundred dollars for it the day after he gave it to me, and he felt it was wrong to renege on his generosity to me—but now he could take it back without shame and pocket the profit.)

Everybody seemed happy.

I learned a lot from that experience.

Establishing your value based upon where you stand means you have not uncovered the worth of your soul or the depth of your mission.

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