tony-barnes mug PPN faith columnist


Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale … and then something about a three-hour tour. If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, you likely have that song cemented into your brain cells. That’s probably why I find myself fascinated with all things related to being stranded on a desert island.

In fact, a joke I have been telling for years involves a man stranded on a desert island. He finally manages to signal a nearby passing ship. They rescue him and as they are sailing away, the captain asks if it is OK to ask some questions.

He leads off with asking what the first of three small structures were on the island. The newly rescued castaway responds, “Well, the one on the right was my home so I could have shelter from the elements.” The captain nods and then asked about the middle building’s purpose. “Well, that was the church I built because I wanted a separate place where I could spend time in prayer and praise to God.” The captain scratched his chin in puzzlement and asked about the third building. His new passenger smiled and said, “Oh, that’s the church I used to go to.” This is where I remind you, I will be here all night and you should tip your waitstaff.

You can imagine how I loved Tom Hanks and his volleyball friend Wilson. I also enjoyed the first season of “Lost,” but had less appreciation for subsequent seasons as the storyline became increasingly bizarre. I suppose I cherish programs about being stranded on a desert island because it reminds me how much we truly need each other. I’ve never seen a program or movie where the person who is suddenly on such an island and takes a deep breath saying, “Cool, now I don’t have to deal with people anymore.” They always start looking for ways to be rescued. They always want to get back to their lives.

If you look at programs such as “Gilligan’s Island” and “Lost,” you also find the people rally together to determine what items they have in their luggage, what skills they have and how they can contribute to the team effort in trying to survive. Certainly, the slapstick humor of “Gilligan’s Island” didn’t really capture the desperation likely felt if you were to suddenly find yourself in such a dilemma. But, in my opinion the first season of “Lost” did an excellent job capturing the stark reality of an aircraft crash and the challenges of those that survivors.

Their best chance of survival was to recognize their need for each other. This is also true in much tamer environments such as football teams, work center staffs and even in church settings. It is important that when we find ourselves in any number of team settings, we identify those things which are assets and offer them up for the team effort. God has equipped us with talents. Some have technical skills, others can sing or teach and yes, some of us can string a few words together on to a sheet of paper and write newspaper columns.

All over El Paso County are churches of all flavors. Some are very liturgical; others are evangelical and a number of churches have Pentecostal and charismatic styles of worship. There are places of worship to fit every preferred style. There are also holes in those churches. I am not referring to structural soundness of the buildings. I am reasonably sure you can’t look up at the ceiling and see blue skies and sunshine. However, there could be a hole in a church that is uniquely shaped like you. Your skills and talents are needed in the quest to introduce a lost world to Jesus Christ. Remember, even Gilligan in all his stumbling antics brought value to the group as they sought to survive until they could be rescued from that island.

Tony “T-Bar” Barnes is a 28-year veteran of the Marine Corps and Air Force. He is also retired from the Department of Veteran Affairs and can be reached at

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