Devotions - A Few Moments With God
Sunday, December 8, 2002

Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy.
(1 Corinthians 4.2 NRSV)

Christine Hoff-Sommers published an article sometime back titled "Ethics Without Virtue." In this article she criticized the way ethics is being taught in American colleges. She pointed out that students taking college ethics classes debate abortion, euthanasia, capital punishment, DNA research, and the ethics of transplant surgery, while they learn almost nothing about private decency, honesty, personal responsibility, or honor.

A colleague of hers did not like what she said in that article. The colleague told her that in her classroom, she would continue to focus on issues of social injustice--women's oppression, corruption in big business, transgressions of multinational corporations in Third World countries. The colleague explained, "You are not going to have moral people until you have moral institutions. You will not have moral citizens until you have a moral government." She made it clear that Ms. Hoff-Sommers was wasting time and even doing harm by promoting bourgeois virtues and not awakening the social conscience of her students.

At the end of the semester, that same colleague came into Ms. Hoff-Sommers' office carrying a stack of exams and looking very upset. "What's wrong?" Ms. Hoff- Sommers asked. Her colleague said, "They cheated on their social justice take-home finals. They plagiarized!" More than half of the students in her ethics class had copied from secondary sources. "What are you going to do?" Ms. Hoff-Sommers asked. Her colleague gave her a self-mocking smile and said, "I'd like to borrow a copy of that article you wrote on ethics without virtue.

A hard but important lesson to learn. We simply cannot have a society that is not built on honesty and trust. If you have a position of trust--whether it is in business, or government, or church or within you own home, honor it. That is an important way we can prepare for Christ's coming--by living trustworthy lives of honesty.

Loving God, may honesty be one of my greatest assets, along with living for Christ. Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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