Value Systems

I’m an INTJ.

For anyone who has interest in the Meyers-Briggs personality test, this means something to you.  I’m just the taddest bit obsessed with personality studies.  I love finding out what makes me and other people tick.  The thing to remember about personality tests is that they don’t determine what you do, but rather show what you are hard-wired to value.

For instance, the INTJ personality type values competency over most everything else in life.  If you aren’t good at your job or working very hard to improve your skills, we tend to stay away from you.  Being very good at what we do is extremely important to us and anyone not of that mindset has very little use for us personally and professionally… but mostly professionally.

For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why someone would just want to be mediocre at their job or craft.  It annoyed me and I found myself shutting out a vast swath of humanity.  Later, I learned that these people didn’t value competency the way I do.  A job was just a job to them.  They cared about family, friends, and emotional connection.  While the latter ranked pretty low on my list of things to cultivate, I finally realized that emotional connection, to them, was just like competency to me.  We valued different characteristics… and that was ok.

Throughout the course of a day, we shun certain activities in favor of another.  Not because one was moral and the other was not, but because we valued the one over the other.  Conflict often arises between people (especially in the church) when different groups value different things.

This is most harshly seen in the relationship between Boomers and Millennials in the church.  They both value very different things about the church, neither of which are wrong, but can cause a lot of conflict and be misinterpreted if you don’t take the time to learn why each one values what they value.

So, let’s talk coffee, phones, and church buildings.


Coffee is a drink you have at breakfast and with a slice of pie from that diner that gives you a lot of food for very little money.  It shouldn’t cost more than $2 and you should get a discount on top of that because you made it this far.  (My parents and I travel great lengths to get coffee from the place where they get their senior discount.)

In church coffee is in the foyer; Sunday school classroom; or on the tile; and stays with the stale donuts.  End of story.

Phones by some weird magic, in the early 80’s, phones left their corded cradle on the wall and could be carried around the house.  Then, they turned into little boxes that could be carried in your pocket everywhere and because of the degradation of the culture, they began sucking the brains out of everyone who uses them.  No longer just a device to talk on, these things can surf the web (whatever that means), video record, play music, and (to its credit) let you see and speak in real time to your grandchildren.

In church the phone should stay in your pocket or purse until such time as it begins to ring loudly and you can either risk embarrassment by pulling it out; trying to find the shut off switch; failing miserably; and nearly dying of humiliation as everyone watches you, OR, you can leave it in your pocket/purse and stare with righteous indignation at someone else hoping that they will get the blame for a phone ringing in church.

Church Buildings are a direct representation of how you view Christ.  Even if your church building is old and decrepit, you should try to make it look as nice and inviting as possible.  Just like your home reflects how you respect and value those who visit, the church should be as clean and nice looking as possible.  Solomon built the temple out of gold so you should try to make your sanctuary as nice as possible.


Coffee is liquid life itself.  The drinker of this caffeinated beverage will soar on wings of eagles.  You will pay any amount of money for a chalice of this steaming elixir and there is no time of day when coffee is not a good decision.  The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was probably a chocolate covered espresso bean tree and you have very little judgement for Adam and Eve for their sin.

In Church the preacher is saying something important and you should listen.  This cup of coffee helps you do that… nay, without this cup of coffee, gleaning any truths from God’s word may be impossible.  Chances are, you were on a conference call with the team in India last night, and consciousness depends on God’s grace, strength and java.

Phones, the talk function on the phone is secondary… or tertiary to its actual function.  The phone connects you to the world.  It is vital for business.  It is also great for finding information and storing massive amounts of books, music, podcasts and apps to help you find the nearest coffee shop.

In Church the phone has your bible on it.  It also has a bible dictionary, concordance, maps, commentaries, notes, and a cool option to tweet, post or Instagram that really interesting phrase the pastor just said.  It is a great tool to supplement the message.

Church Buildings are only a physical place to meet.  The true church is the people and the work of Christ is best done in the community.  It would be better to have stained concrete floors where spilled coffee doesn’t matter, than to have pristine carpet and have to ask the visitor to drink their beverage in the foyer.  Outreach matters more than a sterile environment.  Why build another building?  We could use that money to feed/clothe/house the poor.

Both generations have valid points based on their life context and value systems.  As siblings in Christ, we must strive to learn the values of others and constantly challenge our own selves as to why we value what we do and whether what we value is actually worth fighting over.  Like 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, Whether therefor you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Posted in raisedUP.

Paul Thompson

Paul Thompson is a composer, arranger, orchestrator and frequent shower singer. His pieces have been published by many publishing companies and his music is performed all around the world.

As the fifth of five children, he has endured the onslaught of "youngest child" jokes and has blacked out most of the torturous activities his three older brothers and older sister inflicted on him. Now that his siblings have given him 24 niblings and 6 grand-niblings, he delights in buying them all noisy toys and sharing shocking details of their parent's lives with them.

When not writing music for House of El Music, Paul enjoys acting in musicals and plays, cooking, wood working, and going on long walks with his dog, C.K. (named after his favorite super hero, Superman).