Psalm 61:3

Hear my cry, O God, listen to my prayer; for You have been my refuge, a strong tower against the enemy.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Virtue

Alasdair MacIntyre compared our understanding of virtue with a civilization, generations into the future, uncovering our civilization. The few pieces that they could put together about our knowledge of science, this would be what we currently know about virtue.
I am not an ethicist, but this idea of virtue intrigues me. Do we even have the faintest idea of how to be good people anymore? Do we know what "good" is? Do we even care?
If we wanted to recapture virtue in our society, where shall we begin? We could look to past examples of virtue and attempt to follow in their footsteps. We could focus in on certain virtues and try to drive them into the minds of future generations.
Personally I favor a multi-pronged approach. It begins with reading the right books. Some books have a sense of the "transcendent". Reading them gives you the impression that there is more to life than simply getting by one day at a time. The Lord of the Rings would be a good example. These pages contain within them the sense that my life does not simply belong to me, even if they do not explicitly say who it belongs to. They give me the feeling that living a "good" life is worth it.
Another prong might be to practice virtue. Pick one virtue for the day-honesty, for example-and practice speaking the truth. Tomorrow perhaps you will choose courage. Practice makes perfect, after all.
This involves study. It involves practice. It involves repentance and forgiveness. There are many virtues and none of us possess them perfectly. Our whole life will be one filled with repentance for our failure to be as virtuous as God created us to be. But let us never give up. We were not created, or reborn, to be idle. There is work to be done, even within our own hearts. Let us be about that work.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

HIT it!

Someone once told me a story that went something like this:
Several men had gathered together at their church to relocate the congregation's playground equipment. One task was to move the giant swing set. The legs of the swing set had been pulled from the ground. However, they were still encased in concrete. The swing set could not be moved and reset until the old concrete was removed.
One of the men, "Martin", volunteered to take a swing at busting the concrete from the metal legs. He picked up a sledge hammer and went to work out of sight of the rest of the men. After a few minutes Martin returned and confessed that he could not crack the concrete even a little bit.
Another man, lets call him "Jack", offered to try. He disappeared in the direction of the swing set. After a long absence Jack returned. "Did you get it?" asked Martin. "Yep," replied Jack, covered in sweat. "It's all off."
Martin and the others were shocked. "How did you do it?" they asked. "Well," Jack said, "When you want to remove concrete, you can't just hit it." He paused for a moment. "You have to HIT it."
The moral of the story? In life, or in the church, if you want to do something, don't just do it. DO it.