Sunday, December 30, 2012

Blemishes in christian character

Tim Keller has a nice little ditty on his redeemer blog called 'Blemishes in Christian Character: A List For Self-Examination.' Ouch, ouch, and more ouch. But very insightful, and helpful to yours truly.

He bases it on a letter from 18th Century Anglican minister John Newton. Keller comes up with an expanded list, complete with "slightly humorous Latin names" for each of the 'blemishes.'

I think this is good stuff. It convicted the heck out of me, and I need that on occasion. I believe character is highly important to our Christian witness (if not THE most important thing). I think it is something we should constantly be working at, and, frankly, am surprised by the number of people who don't think they have any control over it. You can definitely develop your character (and integrity, as well as competency, even). But it takes effort, humility, prayer, and the ability to keep from sticking your head in the sand (or up your ass) to acknowledge that we are works in progress.

The entire post is worth the read, but here is the list of 'blemishes'...

Austerus is a solid and disciplined Christian, but abrasive, critical and ungenerous in dealing with people, temperamental, seldom giving compliments and praise, and almost never gentle.
Infitialis is a person of careful and deliberate character, but habitually cynical, negative, and pessimistic, always discouraging (“that will never work”), unsupportive and vaguely unhappy.
Pulsus is passionate, but also impulsive and impatient, not thinking things through, speaking too soon, always quick to complain and lodge a protest, often needing to apologize for rash statements.
Querulus is a person of strong convictions, but known to be very opinionated, a poor listener, argumentative, not very teachable, and very slow to admit they were wrong.
Subjectio is a resourceful and ambitious person, but also someone who often shades the truth, puts a lot of spin on things (close to misrepresentation), is very partisan, self-promoting, and turf-conscious.
Potestas gets things done, but needs to control every situation, has trouble sharing power, has a need to do everything him or herself, and is very suspicious and mistrustful of others.
Fragilis is friendly and seeks friends, but constantly gets his or her feelings hurt, easily feels slighted and put down, is often offended and upset by real and imagined criticism by others.
Curiosus is very sociable, but enjoys knowing negative things about people, finds ways of passing the news on, may divulge confidences, and enjoys confrontation too much.
Volatilis is very kind-hearted and eager to help, but simply not reliable—isn’t punctual, doesn’t follow through on promises, is always over-extended, and as a result may do shoddy work.