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Monday, October 8, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “Three Steps to Integrity”

E-Vangel Newsletter
October 8, 2012

Pastorgraphs: “Three Steps to Integrity”

Friday afternoon, I pressed the “send” button. After five years of trial and mostly error, my manuscript was finally on its way to Xulon Press, my publisher. The book should be ready in both print and eBook versions from Amazon and Barnes & Noble (Kindle and Nook) by mid-November. I will let you know when it is available.

The title is “Three Steps to Integrity: The ABC Model” and the subtitle is “Connecting How You Think, What You Do, Why You Do It, Who You Are”.

“The ABC Model” steps you through your Actions (virtues), Beliefs (ethics), and Character as the pathway to integrity. It really is simple, but requires effort, as do all things of value in life.

Why did I feel compelled to write a book on integrity?

Let me make it clear: I am not the paragon of virtue and am far from perfect, (just ask my wife). Dave Ramsey, the financial advisor, said he is able to help others get out of debt because he made every stupid money mistake possible. I’ve made enough mistakes for three lifetimes. But like Dave, I hope I have learned from my mistakes.

God led me to write this book, whether anyone reads it or not. And it is NOT a sequel to my “Kudzu That Ate Yazoo City”. It has something to say about how anyone can become a better person with strong character and integrity by aligning what you believe, what you do, why you do it, and who you are.

In early 2008, months before the financial collapse, my friend Brent Perkins and I began discussing the poverty of integrity in individuals, institutions, and society in general.

That prompted me to set about defining exactly what integrity is (and is not). I asked TEN respected friends to define integrity, and received TEN DIFFERENT answers.

It became clear that if we cannot define what integrity is, then how in the world do we expect anyone to achieve it?

I wrote over thirty terms (components of integrity) onto index cards and attempted to organize them into groups. I inflicted a series of sermons upon the Christ Church congregation, trying to articulate (for my own understanding) what integrity is.

Only after an almost five year struggle, interrupted by two major surgeries and radiation treatments,  did the final piece of the puzzle recently fall into place, enabling me to rewrite the final draft of the book.

I think “The ABC Model” will help folks understand why such things as honesty and trustworthiness (virtues) are important parts of integrity, but NOT the same as integrity. The model also shows why ethics (rules) are not the same as integrity, and why “ethics training” almost always fails, because it simply sets out the rules (which even small children learn early on are easily manipulated). In The Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve had only one “ethic”, and they failed to keep it. Later Moses received “The 10 Ethics”. Keeping those simple commandments hasn’t been achievable for most folks, either. We need something more than ethics. We need virtues, character with moral fiber, and only then we are able to achieve integrity and live what Aristotle called “happiness”, and what Jesus said is the “abundant life”.

I am on my journey to becoming a better person. I hope you take the journey also,  and find your own life of wholeness, completeness, happiness, wisdom, peace, abundance and success – the rewards of a life of integrity.

Thank you for your encouragement and support, especially my family, and particularly Anita who is the world’s best proofreader, my task-master, inspiration, best friend, and my love.

Brother Bill

From the Quote Garden:
“If you have integrity, nothing else matters.
If you don't have integrity, nothing else matters.”
~ Alan Simpson ~

Christ United Methodist Ministry Center
“Christ in the Heart of San Diego”
3295 Meade Avenue - San Diego, CA 92116 - (619) 284-9205

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