Thursday, July 14, 2005

O'Connor's Character and What it Shows Christians

In an interesting Time magazine article from the July 4th issue, the writers commented at length no less than three times on a matter of note: O'Connor's character, specifically her treatment of her clerks. Clerking is known to be an arduous job, brutal if brief, and one can only imagine what such work entail for the underlings of a Supreme Court Justice. Yet O'Connor reportedly supplemented her clerks' experience with an underused managerial additive: kindness. According to the piece, she baked for her clerks, took them on a picnic, got to know them personally. In short, said one former employee, she became like one's "best friend's grandmother." That's a surprising comment given O'Connor's rank and place in a city known more for administering arrogance than affection.

What interests me most about the article, though, is that though it highlights O'Connor's judicial record and the character that fueled it, it returns several times to this issue of character. I find this compelling because this example offers proof of a biblical axiom: where there is character, people notice. Whether one thinks of the witness provided by loving one's enemies or of other teachings, it is clear biblically that people around us, however spiritually blind they may be, cannot fail to recognize upstanding character. This is what makes the Time article interesting. A magazine that sometimes champions ideals and persons that engender disagreement from Christians nonetheless pays homage to one of the most basic ideas of the Bible: character counts. Makes one want to honor Christ not simply in the pew or the praise group but in the public square. People are watching, and they can begin to discover the answer to their deepest questions by the lives Christians lead. After all, if even Christians don't live moral lives, why should anyone else?


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