Artificial Authenticity

I have recently been reading the wonderful book The Courage to be Protestant by David Wells.  This is a great read which I highly recommend to anyone who is involved in ministry.  I read a section of the book yesterday that really intrigued me.  Mr. Wells deals with the shift of focus in western culture from character to personality.

Allow me to explain (I didn’t understand what he meant at first either).  It used to be that a person was judged by their character (i.e. who they are in private, what they stand for publically and privately).  I’ve heard it said many times that the only contract they had in those days was a handshake.  Not so much anymore.  Character has taken a back seat to personality.  People don’t seem too concerned about the inside (you know, the part God sees), they are preoccupied with what other people see.  (btw, I’m not just thinking of holiness)

One of the buzzwords of the day is Authenticity.  Some have even given placed authenticity at the highest place of importance for business in the future.  We hear it a lot; be authentic, authentic worship, authentic ministry, authentic relationships, etc.  Maybe “buzzword” isn’t fair.  I don’t have anything against being authentic; in fact, I embrace the idea that we should be authentic (in our worship, ministry, relationships, etc.).  The problem is, too often, authenticity is applied to the personality, and not to the character.

As a result, the term, “authenticity” is misconstrued to mean the projection of the personality.  As long as we are “being real” in our interactions with people, the character of the person behind the image is hidden and irrelevant…for now.  But a person’s character will always come to light.  (Oops!  Um…You character is showing!)

True authenticity starts with the character and works itself out into the personality.  If I want to “be real”, it must start on the inside, and too often, the inside is something that we don’t even want to look at, let alone let others see.  What we need is an authentic move of the Holy Ghost in our lives that will change us, starting with the character and working out to our personality.

That is authentic authenticity!

3 thoughts on “Artificial Authenticity

  1. Often times character shatters the identity. It is like taking a bottle of soda and shaking it for 2 or 3 minutes and finally opening the lid- it explodes. Everywhere. Same with character. The exterior (identity) is shaken for 10, 15, even 20 years before the lid is finally opened and character explodes out- leaving the identity futile and unusable. Destroying ourselves, loved ones, and those who have chosen to follow our identity rather than our character.

    We have to let our character shape who we are. Or we are just a bulging identity waiting to shatter?

    Thanks for a timely reminder!

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