Whether you are an individual, a member of a community or of a school, this site will equip you to grow in character and virtue. Although particularly designed for Christian faith communities and theology students, the practices that are described in this site are universal and applicable to many contexts.
Let us be clear upfront. This site is about practice. Granted, there will be a little bit of initial theory, but the core objective of this site is not to inform you but to help form you, and to guide you through a practical plan to grow in virtue.
The following are examples of possible contexts of practice for this site:
Growth in character is not something that happens overnight, and you (or your group) should plan to spend 4-5 months working through the four stages around which this site is built.
This site is written for both participants and group leaders. A step-by-step Group Leader Guide is provided in the additional resource section.
What are the outcomes of virtue education? The following five descriptors describe genuine growth in character (drawn from the work of J. Arthur and the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtue):
1) Virtue education will shape your attention and you will increasingly notice and attend to situations that require specific virtues. As you grow in virtue, you will judge things differently and develop new levels of discernment and sensitivity where you will naturally notice virtue (or lack thereof) in many situations around you.
2) Virtue education will shape your emotions, meaning that, as you repeat virtue-related actions, you will cultivate and recognise feelings that are roused by virtue and vice. Becoming a virtuous person entails having the right affections and you can anticipate feeling a deep sense of happiness as your character aligns to what is good.
3) Virtue education will shape your desires, so, as you practice virtue, you will increasingly want to see changes for the good. If temptation can be defined as being torn between the desire for vice and desire for virtue, educating virtue will strengthen your desires for virtue and lessen the forces of temptation.
4) Virtue education will bend your will to action, and this will be most evident as you increasingly look for experiences that put your commitment to what is good into practice.
5) Virtue education will shape your expression, meaning that you will develop the kind of personality that is perceived by others as virtuous.
These are fantastic outcomes!
But, as with all worthwhile things, there is a price to pay to grow in your character and virtue. At the beginning it will be difficult, and will require the continual exercise of your conscious will. Only in time, as you grow in virtue and as habituation practices produce their effects, will you experience virtue as a natural part of your character. But more of that later.
If this is what you want, press on. This site is for you.
(read more about the author of this site, Marvin Oxenham – PhD)