Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Virtue of Indifference

This sort of indifference is something largely alien to most evangelicals. One of the lessons that can be learned from many of the memoirs being written currently by millennial evangelicals is that we are piercingly aware of ourselves as individual brands and are deeply concerned with cultivating the right sort of public image. This is, to be fair, something our parents taught us, for one of the consequences of the seeker-sensitive movement of the 1980s is that churches and their members learned to think of themselves as products that must be marketed correctly in order to gain new customers.

To be indifferent is, in the sense we are speaking of today, to be confident in the goodness of a certain way of life. It is to be immune to the appeals of popularity and relevance, committed instead to the work we have been given to do. It is to be convinced enough of your vocation that you don’t need to be bothered by many of the things that consume the attention of your peers. It is to say that you are not concerned with finding your next promotion, accumulating life experiences (which you use to build your brand on social media as well as your CV), looking for your next big house, or seeking out the right school to advance your child’s career prospects. It is to be content with the life you have been given and to work in one’s home place for its improvement rather than seeking a better place somewhere else. It is, to borrow a phrase from Berry, to acquire the joy of sales resistance.

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