Homily #4: Building Character

I wrote on this very idea not long ago, but the quote below refreshed my memory. Building a virtuous character takes time, commitment, and conviction. It means that for some of us, we have glimpses at times that it means something to work at building a better soul, and that changing, yes! changing one’s character is not only possible but is an important and worthy thing to do. It is the Narrow Way, not the cheap grace way; it is the “treasure hidden in a field”, not the “house made of sand”; and it is about changing me, not changing someone else.

From James Davison Hunter:

“We say we want a renewal of character in our day but don’t really know what we ask for. To have a renewal of character is to have a renewal of a creedal order that constrains, limits, binds, obligates, and compels. This price is too high for us to pay. We want character but without unyielding conviction; we want strong morality but without the emotional burden of guilt or shame; we want virtue but without particular moral justifications that invariably offend; we want good without having to name evil; we want decency without the authority to insist upon it; we want more community without any limitations to personal freedom. In short we want what we cannot possibly have on the terms that we want it”.

From: “The Death of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil”

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Jane Tawel

Still not old enough to know better. I root around and explore ideas in philosophy, spirituality, poetry, Judeo-Christian Worldview, family, relationships, and art. Often torn between encouragement & self-directed chastisement, I may sputter, but I still keep trying to move forward.

8 thoughts on “Homily #4: Building Character”

  1. Wow, this is rich. Considered rightly, in my opinion, It describes precisely, where we’re naturally faulty, yet, if we remain humble and remember that we have the opportunity to be transformed by something beyond ourselves, progress is possible. The key for me is to persevere and to enjoy the expedition, taking time to observe and revere the beauty of the wonders and mystery of all of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jeffw5382 —- yes, yes, yes. It’s so ironic and sad how much and so many have lost this idea of as you say, “progress”, not just in acquiring but in wisdom and appreciation of beauty. We can progress, if we believe we can, and if we understand the truly important things to “progress” in. Thank you for this wise and encouraging comment. To accept the mystery of it all is a gift. Thank you for that reminder. I needed it. Shalom, Jane

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Jane I just found the quote you referred to in my Daily Dig- evidently we have a similar ritual- I got to mine later than usual today- your post was closer to the top – The Plough is published earlier in the day 🙏🏼

        Liked by 1 person

        1. YEP! I have been blessed by the Daily Dig for several years now. I have also gotten to know of several authors through Plough that I owe a lot of good thought and growth (I hope) to. How fun to have a DD friend!

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this, Jane. I’m a changed person. And hasn’t this last year, creeping on the anniversary of “COVID”, proven such self-discovery for us? I’ve been humbled so much in my life. And it was me that needed to change.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. K.L. Hale — Yes, you hit it on the head with the word humbled. I have been exactly that in so many ways, and the only good thing I guess is that I have learned a bit better how to humble myself in the face of my immediate feelings or fears so I am not humiliated by them later. Thank you for reading and the great comment! Shalom, Jane

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love this and feel it’s intention deeply within my own soul’s journey. Integrity and character is a lifetime’s body of work sewn together by patience, grace and courage. To live one’s truth by heart, achieving balance yet depth and remaining honest with one’s own convictions while respecting others on their own paths. This isn’t always easy yet the goal is a simple one. Be kind, loving and open hearted. When these virtues lead the way, love is felt by all❤


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