Sep 15, 2015

From Whence Cometh That Light in Some Few People?

Common Sense Commentary: I print David Brooks' column from the New York Times on my Common Sense Blog rather than Salvation Nation because it verifies and gives insight into the heart and mind, of a man of the world, toward those who show Christian "light" to those around them. Mr Brooks is no doubt a fine man. He recognizes sincere kindness, mercy, and love in those few people who have it, of whom he says he meets one  "about once a month". Here is a man who sees what he wants to be ... clearly, but just doesn't understand where that "light" he sees in  a few people comes from. Like most of the rest of the world, he assumes "he must somehow do it himself, make it happen or change himself".  But I believe what he is seeing in those who have that special "light", is Christ in them and not they themselves.

All studied Christians know that it is Jesus who is the "light of the world" and He lives in his disciples who are simply reflectors of Christ's light, who lives in them ... so that they then become "the light of the world." It is similar to the moon reflecting the light of the sun on to the dark side of the earth. We speak of it as "moonlight" but it is, in fact, "sunlight". Jesus, who was God in the flesh, could say, without boasting, that He is that light ....  "Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12.  Then he passed that light on to his disciples, by His very presence in their lives, and said ...."Ye are the light of the world...." Matt.5:14. I believe what this sincere man was seeing in the lives of about one person a month was Christ in them. I like this man for his sincerity. RB

The Moral Bucket List

The New York Times
SundayReview | OP-ED COLUMNIST David Brooks

 APRIL 11, 2015

ABOUT once a month I run across a person who radiates an inner light. These people can be in any walk of life. They seem deeply good. They listen well. They make you feel funny and valued. You often catch them looking after other people and as they do so their laugh is musical and their manner is infused with gratitude. They are not thinking about what wonderful work they are doing. They are not thinking about themselves at all.

When I meet such a person it brightens my whole day. But I confess I often have a sadder thought: It occurs to me that I’ve achieved a decent level of career success, but I have not achieved that. I have not achieved that generosity of spirit, or that depth of character.

A few years ago I realized that I wanted to be a bit more like those people. I realized that if I wanted to do that I was going to have to work harder to save my own soul. I was going to have to have the sort of moral adventures that produce that kind of goodness. I was going to have to be better at balancing my life. 

It occurred to me that there were two sets of virtues, the résumé virtues and the eulogy virtues. The résumé virtues are the skills you bring to the marketplace. The eulogy virtues are the ones that are talked about at your funeral — whether you were kind, brave, honest or faithful. Were you capable of deep love?

We all know that the eulogy virtues are more important than the résumé ones. But our culture and our educational systems spend more time teaching the skills and strategies you need for career success than the qualities you need to radiate that sort of inner light. Many of us are clearer on how to build an external career than on how to build inner character.

But if you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be O.K. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.

So a few years ago I set out to discover how those deeply good people got that way. I didn’t know if I could follow their road to character (I’m a pundit, more or less paid to appear smarter and better than
I really am). But I at least wanted to know what the road looked like.

I must conclude, by Mr. Brooks' sincere humility, that he is very near finding what he is looking for... Jesus Christ as his Savior and a glimmer of "Christlikeness"....   RB

No comments: