May 10, 2008

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Overrated Christian Virtues There’s been quite a discussion at work lately about how a pastor should dress when he goes to work. It struck a nerve. Tensions rose, tempers flared, and a new dress code policy was hammered out. Frankly, I’m good with where things landed. But somewhere in the course of pontificating about the advantages of blue jeans, it occurred to me that there are some personal preferences that we’ve named as virtues. Church authorities have typically gone a step further to christen them as Christian virtues. But strip beyond the thin layer of God-speak, and you’ll find nothing more than someone’s opinion. Opinion is a thin thread, but a Christian Virtue is worth mandating obedience. So, here are a few Overrated Christian Virtues of our day that are worth questioning in the light of Jesus and his time on earth: Punctuality I confess: I have taught, sometimes ruthlessly, on the value of being on time. I run a ministry school that trains worship leaders for local churches, and I have had rules that severely punished the tardy. One year, for every minute a student was late, he had to run line sprints for three times that amount of time. Being late is often a symbol of laziness, irresponsibility, or a lack of respect for the people whom you are late to see. It is often that, but not always. Sometimes being late is the result of being fully present in your previous appointment. How many times have you rushed through a two o’clock appointment with a friend who needed you simply because you had a three o’clock with someone else? How many people have we paid half-attention to because our minds were racing to our next appointment? Jesus was never like that. As purposeful as we imagine his life to be,...
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Why Our Generation Loves Barack Obama Before I say anything else, you need to know this: I cannot vote. I have held my Green Card for almost five years, and soon I will be able to renounce my prior citizenship, take a test on American history, and become a certified American citizen. But for now, I am a permanent resident. That means I get to do almost everything a citizen gets to do: line up in the citizens’ line at airport immigration, be legally and gainfully employed, and, of course, pay taxes. But the one thing I cannot do is vote. In a twist of disappointing irony, the ones who do not have a privilege are often those are treat it as such. Voting is a privilege. Americans call it a right because they’ve never lived anywhere else or known anything different. But it is an extraordinary privilege to have a say in who governs our country and how they may do so. It is a heavy responsibility that many philosophers, rulers, and civilizations have not deemed ordinary citizens worthy of. The ancient Greeks, for example, argued that only the wisest should have a vote. Alas, that is not the case in the wonderful land of the free and the home of the brave. Everyone gets a vote. But since you do, and I don’t, and since I am neither a republican nor a democrat, I’ve teamed up with one of the brightest minds I know—my good friend Cameron Schaefer—to bring you some thoughts you ought to consider before you vote. From an observing “outsider” and an intelligent insider come our theories on why our generation is so madly in love with Barack Obama. We’re too poor to care about taxes A friend of mine said flatly, “I don’t care about taxes. I spend more on...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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