Horses and Chariots
...moral virtue comes about as a result of habit, whence also its name ethike is one that is formed by a slight variation from the word ethos (habit). From this it is also plain that none of the moral virtues arises in us by nature; for nothing that exists by nature can form a habit contrary to its nature.
For instance the stone which by nature moves downwards cannot be habituated to move upwards, not even if one tries to train it by throwing it up ten thousand times; nor can fire be habituated to move downwards, nor can anything else that by nature behaves in one way be trained to behave in another...
We must, however, not only describe virtue as a state of character, but also say what sort of state it is... the excellence of the eye makes both the eye and its work good; for it is by the excellence of the eye that we see well. Similarly the excellence of the horse makes a horse both good in itself and good at running and at carrying its rider and at awaiting the attack of the enemy.
Aristotle - Nichomachean Ethics
All social values - liberty, and opportunity, income and wealth, and the bases of self-respect - are to be distributed equally unless an unequal distribution of any, or all, of these values is to everyone's advantage. Injustice, then, is simply inequalities that are not to the benefit of all. Of course, this conception is extremely vague and requires interpretation.
John Rawls - A Theory of Justice
Based on a Sunday night talk at Epic's Converge about the Olympics and Christianity I did some research on the Olympic motto and creed. Motto: "Citius, Altius, Fortius" or "Faster, Higher, Stronger" Creed: "The most important thing in the Olympic Games is not to win but to take part, just as the most important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought well."
I got thinking about money, sex and power over against faith, hope and love and what any of that had to do with faster, higher and stronger. I like to mash metaphors: money = independance; sex = intimacy; power = influence.
I went to Scot McKnight's blog and read this about I Peter 1:
1:22b: “Love one another strenuously out of a purified/cleansed heart.” Soul-purification has its goal in loving one another and the means of that purification, the new birth, is the ground out of which this love grows. In this verse we find the center — grammatically and notionally — of the passage: new birth creates a community that loves one another. Peter has a community gospel.
How, then, will they live in the Roman Empire as a sectarian community? It begins by loving one another through thick and thin. And Peter is not messing around here with some romantic, idyllic sense of community: the word he uses is “strenously” (ektenos): the notion is stretching one’s neck as one strains for the finishing line, or straining one’s efforts to get the job done, or working at it because it is hard.
Faith strains forward (swifter) with a supernatural strength from God. In Jeremiah 12:5 God asks the prophet, "If you have raced with men on foot and they have worn you out, how can you compete with horses? If you stumble in safe country, how will you manage in the thickets by the Jordan?" Elijah outran a chariot of horses! Psalm 20:7 and Isaiah 31:1 speak of some over-trusting chariots and horses. God busts them up. Nothing matches God's chariots and horses. And what kind of locusts are those?
Hope looks up (higher) for intimacy with God. He came down and out to invite us up and in…I think faith is believing and living within his presence here with us and hope is that longing to be with him in that other time and space, which I think is only ever reached sporadically and momentarily on this side of eternity through contemplative prayer. In the meantime, the Spirit of God anchors this living hope into our souls.
Love looks out (stronger) to influence others for Christ through the purity of heaven-born “ektenos” within the heart, soul and body of the redeemed and restored person. And that love is for the community, the body, the self of Christ. Pure love within the body is the magnetism for all the lonely iron filings out there drawn into the presence of the Father, through the Son, in the Spirit - who is the only warm flame in the cold night calling all to come in where it is warm, where every face has been transformed by the glow of that one on that throne.