Bart Starr, the quarterback for the Green Bay Packers from 1956 through 1971, passed away today (May 26, 2019). As a kid, I watched Bart Starr, and his team win the first two Super Bowls. However, his most significant impact on me was when I attended a luncheon where he spoke about sportsmanship and good character; and, I got to shake his hand! He was a genuinely fantastic person who “practiced what he preached.” Many people will deeply miss him.
When was the last time you heard a commentator or athlete talk about character? They may briefly venture into sportsmanship but “character” that would be too controversial to touch on since there is no national agreement on what constitutes good character. It hasn’t always been this way.
“And now, my daughter, don’t be afraid. I will do for you all you ask. All the people of my town know that you are a woman of noble character. “(Ruth 3:11 NIV) Notice in this passage of Scripture that there isn’t a detailed definition of what was “noble character.” Society, at that time, had a very clear understanding of what was “noble character.”
There is a fascinating fifty-seven page thesis titled “Defining Character: A Curriculum Analysis of the Boy Scouts of America and the National Kappa League” written by Helen Marie Gerety, Loyola University Chicago, that seeks to analyze both the Boy Scouts of America and the National Kappa Leagues’ character education curriculum. – https://ecommons.luc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=3889&context=luc_theses
Who knew that defining “character” was so difficult and controversial? Well, I guess the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) knew. “The objectives of the BSA are referred to as the Aims of Scouting: Character, Citizenship, Personal Fitness, Leadership.” – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America
If we turn to 1 Corinthians 15:33, we read, “Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” The word “character” is the Greek word éthos meaning habit, manner, custom, morals (Strong’s Concordance 2239). Our English term “ethics” is derived from ēthos. I think Bart Starr understood character and I hope all of us strive to build within our lives good ēthos.