Month: March 2016

A Thousand Small Choices

I sometimes find myself getting flustered about Lent, unsure about what it’s supposed to be accomplishing within me. I think this is mostly because I start worrying about my emotions, whether or not I’m inwardly responding with right and authentic feelings. In general, influenced by books such as N.T. Wright’s After You Believe and lots of C.S. Lewis, I’ve realized this kind of self-centered focus on my emotions is, in fact, the unhelpful leftovers of the Romantic movement of the 19th century and the Existentialist movement in the early 20th. Not to say that our emotions are not important barometers of our inward condition, but they are not the measure of our virtue, our Christlike character. As Wright states, “Virtue. . . is what happens when someone has made a thousand small choices, requiring effort and concentration, to do something which is good and right but which doesn’t ‘come naturally’ — and then, on the thousand and first time, when it really matters, they find that they do what’s required ‘automatically,’ as we say. . . Virtue is what happens …