Thursday, April 17, 2008

Deadly Viper Character Assassins

I just finished reading this book which was written by Mike Foster & Jud Wilhite.

This book is about different "character assassins" that will destroy your integrity if you are not aware of them or if you are not setting yourself up to overcome them.

One of the things that I love about Christianity or any conversation regarding any issue when Christianity plays a part is the fact that God is the Alpha and Omega. What I mean by that is most conversations regarding God will start with God (the Alpha).

A basic conversation starts out with a basic theology of who God is, his characteristics and attributes. From there is it natural to discuss how we should live in response to the character of God as people who are created in His image and saved by His grace.

When that conversation reaches the issue of integrity we see that due to several spiritual reasons we are called to live with character. We also know that we are under attack by Satan who would love to see out character for out the window, have people question or ministry, and in the end place a nugget of doubt about who Jesus really is in the back of people's minds.

This leaves the conversation headed in one direction...God. We need God's grace to not get sucked into a cycle of spiritual masochist activity. We also need to recognize that it is His power that helps us over come temptation, or his sovereignty in always providing a way out for us.

This is what I mean by God being the Alpha and Omega of spiritual conversation, He tends to be the starting point and the ending point, which is completely appropriate.

This book is like the middle part of that conversation. There are no spiritual ties to character and integrity whatsoever. Other than mentioning quotes from Christian leaders there is not direct link to the importance of our integrity and a God who made us in His image.

I agree with what Mike and Jud say in this book. It is full of practical advice that can be applied to our lives to help us avoid pitfalls in regards to our character. Unfortunately it is only half of the conversation.

One example in the book is in the chapter called "The Assassin of Amped Emotions". In this chapter it spelled out that we should not go blind with rage, yell at a co-worker or subordinate and batter them emotionally because of a mistake. The reason for this is because "once a person in a organization has been attacked that person will stop contributing to the organization". Although this is true, it is only half of the story. Forget the fact that the individual you might yell at is a person created in God's image and a person that is cared for and loved deeply by an almighty God, what matters is that if you lose your temper that person will cease to perform for you.

The ideas of this book are true and good but the foundation is not there. It is like they have given someone who has never played baseball and given them a ball, bat, and glove and sent them out on the field but they never explained the purpose of the game.

The book is not a bad read, funny in parts, a lot of good advice, but know that there are so many more pressing issues in regards to our integrity than what is mentioned here. There is also a blog up where the conversation is still going regarding this book, I hope that there these underlying, and overlying issues will be brought up.

***On a side note, there is a small two page interview with Tony Hale in this book that for me was completely worth the read. Tony Hale is the actor who played Buster on Arrested Development. Hilariousness incarnate.***

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