dancing, beaming, ecstatic. On stage, a band tuned up, and the bass
player played the opening notes to “Money, Money, Money.”
I found a seat near the front. A woman took center stage and asked
everyone to stand and join her in prayer. “Gosh, Lord, there is so much
to be thankful for,” she said, eyes closed, face turned toward the chan-
delier. “We pray for our country. We pray for the whole world, Lord.
For the soldiers who are protecting our nation. We pray, Jesus, too, for
our president, George Bush, to continue to make good decisions. And
that our country supports him. And we pray that he will continue to
look to Jesus as his number one counsel. And we pray for the founders
of ACN, for giving us such a blessed company, and to continue making
She introduced the preacher, who was from a church in Simi Valley, a
wealthy suburb of Los Angeles, an Asian man in his late thirties, dressed
comfortably in a knit-collar shirt and tan Dockers. “I’m so excited to
be here,” he said as he adjusted the microphone stand. “I knew this was
going to be an ACN event, where you’re trying to get some information
just to get fired up about your business. And I’m like, wow, this morning
you can get so much more. This is much more important.”
He spoke with an air of awe, like someone who once took a lot of
acid, or a preschool teacher. He talked about the earth, how enormous
it is compared to the size of the ballroom we were gathered in, and yet
how tiny our world is compared to the sun. And how our sun is small in
comparison to Sirius, the Dog Star, brightest star in the night sky, and
Sirius is much smaller still than Eta Carinae, which is, in turn, smaller
than Betelgeuse, which is smaller than VY Canis Majoris, a star a billion
times the size of our sun.
“And we’re here on this little planet called Earth,” he said. “What is
more important than knowing the God who made all of that? That’s it.
There’s nothing more. What else is there to know but to be secure in the
God who made it all?”
His sermon returned from the outer reaches of the universe to his
boyhood bedroom, where, he claimed, after a series of family tragedies,
God spoke to him and he answered the call.
“Think about it,” he said after the climax of his story. “If you were to
die today, would God let you into heaven?” He paused to scan the crowd.
“If you ask most people in the world, most would say, ‘I think so.’”
He feigned incredulity.
“You think so?”