Thursday, December 22, 2011
People can be taught to observe boundaries and clean up their language. Organizations can even cultivate a respectful workplace, environment, or institutional culture—and many of the programs devoted to diversity and inclusion training use those terms. And when all else fails, leaders can even enforce appropriate behavior. (As Magill, observed, the pilot "knows what he did cannot happen again.")If we approach Christ on a self-help basis we will get no farther than any of the uncountable secular programs out there. But, the power of the gospel lies in the the fact that it alone offers the kind of inner transformation that can produce genuine results.
But the task of becoming a person who is genuinely capable of respecting other people is an inside job that cannot be accomplished over the course of a day long workshop. The language that the pilot used reflected the mindset of a user and a narcissist—a frame of mind that sees other people as a means to an end or as annoyance. And the repair of workplace conduct—as important as it is—barely scratches the surface of the problem laid bare by the language he used.
That is why ancient conversations about virtue (or areté) emphasized not just inner disposition, but lifelong, reliable patterns of behavior. And that is why in religious communities where a capacity for respect is important, those values are grounded in the assumption that behavior of that kind is essential whether others can hear you or not. That is also why Christians have long taught that other human beings demand our regard because they, too, bear the image of God and are the objects of God's love.
We do; however, have to make ourselves available to that power. I think we try to make the gospel soem sort of self-help program becasue we are so afraid of how naked we are when we make ourselves available in that fashion.
And yet, there is nothing to be afraid of. We reveal ourselves only to the only one that loves us with true love.