From your south campus principal, Grant Bickell
There are few issues about which American Christians are more confused and less consistent about than goodness.” – Joshua Gibbs, How to Be unLucky
Our school uses the Latin word bonum, good, in our list of the transcendentals on our crest. In our time learning about the transcendentals we come today to the idea of the good or goodness. Cicero, in his famous writing on differing philosophical views called de Finnibus, says, “Summum autem bonum si ignoretur, vivendi rationem ignorari necesse est.” (If we do ignore the highest good, we necessarily ignore the art of living. Translated by my good friend and lover of Cicero and all things Latin, D.P Fahrenthold.) What is the highest good? Can anyone be good? Let’s explore together.
We use this word, good, all the time. It is often a place filler or part of a meaningless phrase. Think about how often you hear good morning. (What do you mean?) Your teenage boy may give, “Good,” as an answer as he enters your car and you pry for information on the in’s and out’s of what took place in the course of his day. This is not the good we seek.
Think back to Cicero. If we ignore the highest good, which for the Christian is God, we ignore the very art of living. We ignore how our life should be lived. This necessitates that to live life artfully is to live life in light of and for God. This begs the questions “What does this look like?” “How can I be good?” Dr. Timothy Dernlan, in his Aristotelian inspired book Classical Christian Virtues, defines goodness as “the personal quality of being morally upright or pure.” For us, this is an impossible task without the power and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We depend upon the help of God to bring us into a place of moral uprightness. Last week we talked about True Truth. Today we seek to find True Goodness. Pure lives aimed at God, for the benefit of man, and for the betterment of oneself.
Let us pray for goodness to increase in us as we seek the one who is the very foundation of true goodness:
O Almighty and most merciful God, of thy bountiful goodness keep us, we beseech thee, from all things that may hurt us, that we, being ready both in body and soul, may with free hearts accomplish those things which belong to thy purpose; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.