Saturday, January 01, 2022

Character, not Appearance, Is What Matters

Image result for online reputation cartoon

Character comes before ability and reputation. Especially in the Church. (Character is also greater than authenticity - more to come on that.)

Ability without character is morally and spiritually toxic. 

Unfortunately, some, to maintain appearances, elevate prayerless people to leadership, or theatricize their worship teams, while bypassing Christlikeness. 

Being always comes before doing. Who a person is is not to be measured by what a person does. Much in American culture, and the culture-formed Church, has this backwards. (So does progressive Christianity - see here, ch. 4.)

In our post-Christian culture, virtues such as living in holiness and righteousness are not cool. Instead of cultivating who we are meant to be (Jesus-like character), we are left with how we appear to others. For many it is appearance, not reality, that counts. Just watch TV commercials and behold the vanity.

Reputations are fabricated on social media. Because everyone still needs to be loved and liked, as well as get hired, one's image is re-formed in terms of one's liked-ness. (Do you like "me" when you see "me?")

If you have the money, even though your character cannot be changed (because you are commanded to "accept who you are"), your sickly reputation can be erased, or at least hidden. Online reputation repair is available, so that who you really are will not be seen (because who you really are is unacceptable to others and, therefore, to you). This is not about how you want to be seen, but how others want to see you. Whatever that is (it constantly changes), you can pay to have yourself look better.

Here are some quotes from reputation repair specialists.

"We can make you look great on the internet." (here)

"To be successful, Google needs to approve of you." (here)

"Our experts will fix negative Google results so you look great online." (here)

How much money will you need to do this? Remember, because the surface of you is so miserably unappealing, a whole lot of ongoing expertise and time management will be needed. You are a sorry case, and will have to pay for damage control.


"how much does online reputation management cost? It depends. It could range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars every month. How much does online reputation really cost? It could cost you your reputation." (See here.)

I think I'll save the money and focus on my character. It is flawed. I need more inner transformation. Rather than hide it, I'll confess it to my Christian brothers and sisters who love me and pray for me, and who have also not fully arrived. Confession and forgiveness of sins is not reputation repair, but community character development.

For some inspiration on the subject of character, see David Brooks, The Road to Character, where you will meet real people who could care less about their reputations.

See also The Character Gap.