Virtue and Charm

Lately, I’ve been embracing my introverted nature. For so long I’ve tried to become an extrovert. Extroversion is celebrated in American culture while introversion is seen as weakness. “Quiet” by Susan Cain explores the power of introversion in a noisy world. This book has significant implications not only for the workplace, but perhaps more importantly, for the faith community.

Ms. Cain explores the value transformation of American culture from character to personality with the urbanization of America in the late 1800s through the 1920s. From inner virtue to outer charm, Americans began to buy into creating a personality that exhibits who they are instead of focusing on their inner life from which their character is formed. The ramifications of our cultural values transitioning from character to personality affect every nook and cranny of life in America…especially the life of the church.

Romans 8 captures the inner life of the Christian. “To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” Romans 8 continually returns to the mind and then to the heart. Both the mind and the heart are inside our flesh, our bodies. Death versus life. Focusing on the exterior brings death, while focusing on the interior brings life. Are we in debt to the flesh or in debt to Jesus?

A couple of weeks ago I was reminded how incredibly focused our global family is on the exterior. We worry so much about appearance, apparel, and attitude. Our culture of personality demands that we put on a good show, and if the show is lacking, then we become slaves to the flesh, instead of finding peace and life in the Spirit.

It seems to me that if we all focused on our own inner lives in Christ Jesus, perhaps we would focus less on everyone else’s faults around us. Perhaps, the overflowing of peace and life in our own lives would flow into other people’s inner lives and give them peace. The challenge is to cultivate a culture of virtue, not only a culture of charm. Both have their place and purpose in the Kingdom, but it is my belief that the inner life of the mind and heart in Jesus provides growth for the entire Body of Christ.

Without intention, we often allow the world to dictate how we do church. Our culture, for better or worse, is the catalyst for our worship services, our idea of communal life, and how we teach others about Christ. All of these, for the most part, are dependent on extroverted people who have charm in spades. They motivate us to be better by speaking. We congregate around them because they are so entertaining and gregarious. We leave the BIG teaching to them because they seem to have the answers for they are louder than anyone else. We need these people in the Kingdom. We also need people who are cultivating quiet lives, visionary thinkers, and drawing people into the Kingdom through the teaching of their lives. There is room for both, but we must all set our minds and hearts on God.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Merry Christmas and Thank You - Don Compton

The Art of Being a Giver - Mark Kennell

What We Will Miss - Bob Bentley

A Day To Celebrate - Andres Badillo

Fruit - Beau Davis



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9:30 - Worship (English Service)
10:10 - Bible Class (Birth to 8th grade following the Kid's church time until the end of service)
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