The 36 That Save the World

“There is an ancient legend found in both Judaism and Islam that God is frequently tempted to destroy the world because of its weight of wickedness and injustice. But generation after generation, it is spared by the presence of thirty-six just men (or women, I might add) who quietly commit acts of kindness and compassion. Not only are the thirty-six anonymous, they are, in all likelihood, unknown, even
to themselves.”

—Taken from Sam Keen’s: In the Absence of God: Dwelling in the Presence of the Sacred

When I read this during the summer, my thoughts immediately went to the men and women who have said “Yes” to becoming citizen advocates. Now be aware that I am certain that all of you, as you read this, are saying surely, I am not one of the thirty-six saving the world. However, I beg to differ as I think of the acts of compassion, bravery and kindness citizen advocates have performed in the nearly 30 years this program has been in existence.

When you were recruited to become an advocate, you were asked to do this not because you would ever be recognized publicly, or receive college credit, or be- cause you would be written a letter of recommendation. You were asked because someone had recognized in you the qualities for which we were looking, and you said “Yes” because it felt to you the right thing to do. Over the years powerful stories have sprung from these “yeses” and, without a doubt, they have been instru- mental in life changing, world saving.

One such story is told by Tom Kohler and Susan Earl from Savannah. It is the story of a man living in a nursing home who wanted a different life, and the people who joined on a journey to make that happen. It is a story of transformation for all in- volved, for the community involved and perhaps, some might say, for the world. We are joining in the World Wide Read of this story in February 2011 and will be inviting you to join us. Please take time to visit the website: You will hear more later about the Read.