On a Shanghai forum for expatriates (mostly English-speaking foreigners), I saw a discussion of things that bothered people the most about the Shanghai experience. One commenter said that the problem many Americans have in coming to Shanghai is that they expect it to be a typical international city and are disappointed with some of the unsavory realities of life there. His key to happiness there, he said, was "lowering your standards." I was taken aback since I'd been overwhelmingly happy with the city, and while I know there are some unpleasantries one must cope with (occasional noisy throat clearing and spitting on the street being one of the most common annoyances), it never occurred to me that I had to lower any standards to love the place. Maybe my standards were just naturally low. (Yes, street spitting is unseemly and crude, in my opinion, but I shrug it off.)

In thinking about this, I realized that my ability to accept imperfection probably has been essential in finding so much delight in Shanghai. I also think it's part of why I can find so much meaning and joy in a divinely inspired Church that is loaded with imperfect mortals. There are those who essentially demand perfection in prophets and scripture--perfection being a grand standard and a powerful tool for rejecting all manner of divine messengers and messages. In comparison, yes, I have low standards, or rather, I've lowered my expectations to account for the reality of human error. It's not such a bad thing and I suggest you consider taking the same approach. If you're not convinced, read "'Well Nigh as Dangerous': Latter-day Prophecy and Revelation; Infallibility and Blind Obedience" by McKay V. Jones over at FAIRLDS.org. Awesome review on the issue of fallibility in mortal leaders and how we can wisely cope with it. It's a tremendous essay--nearly perfect, by my standards. Enjoy.
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