RESUME AND EULOGY VIRTUES
David Brooks of the New York Times recently gave a talk about much more than current events and politics.† He spoke of the virtuous life, the fruits of which we all seek but too few seem to find.† His point is about what the body of Christ should be about in the world Ė building ramps of connection to those around us who seek these fruits but cannot find the proper path to them instead of building walls between ourselves and a society which appears to have lost its way, its fruits ones which the body of Christ recoils against and sometimes even fears.†
†††† Although lacking the delivery of a preacher, which is perhaps, in part, his point, he gives a rational, eloquent and simple comparison of the dichotomy of spiritual and worldly goals.† The comparison is between resume virtues and eulogy virtues.† The first are those which are supportive of our worth in a society which values production, efficiency, and contributions to the material realm.† These are virtues one would include on a job application. †The later are those which lead us to the attainment of more lasting, real goods, from which all other goods can be more thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed, as well as attained, such as persistence, moderation, real contentment in sufficiency, purposeful existence, and commitment to and pursuit of something larger than ourselves. †These are virtues one might try to evidence to St. Peter to get through heavens gates, as well as ones which are necessary for a whole life well lived. †
†††† One of his points is that his delivery on the stage from which he spoke was unimportant, not that it was poorly delivered.† The most important stage is the stage of our daily interactions with our fellow man where we live out spiritual principles in their view.† The world is hungry for meaning, purpose, and, yes, happiness.† Our secular culture is increasingly devoid of prescriptions for this end state.† The church must be, more than ever, in the world yet not of the world.† Secluding ourselves from the world is the height of selfishness.† Pedantic arguments to those seeking answers lacks the humility of love.† His message is one of hope that Godís message has yet some time to take root if lived out in the life of His church.† His message was rational, eloquent, and simple, and one we should be able to repeat: at the end of your life, do you want your epitaph to consist of resume virtues or eulogy virtues?† If the later, what does that mean for how you will live your life today?