Virtuous Preaching


In today's culture, how can we speak about integrity?

No doubt our people need more virtue, but how do we address the issue without our sermons becoming modern Aesop's fables?

Stephen L. Carter's (integrity) (Basic Books, 1996, $24) can help us understand some nuances of integrity, but the book raised for me a larger, more critical issue: Why is there such an integrity shortage?

In the opening section, Carter, a professor at Yale Law School, outlines integrity's steps:

1.Discernment. People of integrity act rather than react. They do not understand "the right thing to do" through mere tradition or trends, but through strenuous moral reflection.

2. Consistency. Carter relates the word integrity to integer and concludes, "a person of integrity, like a whole number, is . . . a person somehow undivided," a seamless weaving together of understanding and action.

3. Forthrightness. "A person of integrity," he writes, "is unashamed of doing the right." We must ...

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