Authenticity, among humans, may be the ability to feel comfortable in one’s own skin without shedding that skin too often. The old word is forthrightness.
Advent and authenticity; God, the real deal, really God, on the dirt with the rest of us. Authenticity, unfeigned sincerity with the soft feel of velvet and the hard steel of commitment. Authentic goodness walks unfeigned, as sweetly as majestic sweetness sits enthroned.
Hard, cold, gospel fact: Any "gift" of the Spirit can be counterfeited for awhile, sometimes a long while. To fake the fruit of the Spirit of God, well, that is another matter. How long can you fake patience?
Authentic goodness, principled goodness, may bring with it the charge of hypocrisy because people see actions while God alone discerns the thoughts and intents of the heart. Patriotism, as he understood it, compelled Robert E. Lee to fight for the USA. When circumstances changed around him, the same patriotism spurred him south because his first allegiance was to Virginia. His principles changed his actions.
Arlington Cemetery was originally built up to the door of the former Lee estate by the Secretary of War of the USA. It was punishment for Lee, who simply obeyed his inner urgings. Lee was wrong about the Confederacy but right according to his inner moral gyroscope. He was consistent with his principles. He was the real deal.
So were the people who hated him with a vengeance.
How do we sort out the issues to find the authentic?
Well, what is the gain? Lee was offered command of all Union forces. He could be remembered as Grant is remembered. He could have been President of the USA.
He is a respected loser, only. He paid a terrible price. He gained nothing
Well, what is the cause? For Lee it was not slavery but his home state. He was wrong, dead wrong, about divorcing slavery from state’s rights, but he did not fight to defend slavery. He fought to protect Virginia. He lost everything.
Well, what is the result? The CSA perished. Confederate money even became a joke line. Slavery perished, racial hate persisted (persists). Lee lived out his life in genteel poverty. The Union reunited perilously but, then, the Union was always perilously united before 1860 and will be again.
What is authentic goodness? Is it enough to be consistent with one’s own priniciples according to the three guidelines set down above, conjoined withe the willingness (if not eagerness) to live withe the consequences?
Consider the Christ. He has nothing to gain by coming, does He? Oh, yes, the reclamation of His Creation. I guess there is that for gain.
Consider the Christ. He has a splendid cause, this aforementioned redemption, but, one admits, His cause is so tremendously demanding, even He asked to be relieved of the ultimate responsibility, if there were a way.
Consider the Christ. He has a dramatic result. He never wrote a book or got 200 miles from his birthplace but He disturbed and then converted an entire empire after His death. One cannot imagine world history without Him. Yet, His teachings have been read word for word as the impetus for inhumane atrocities.
When you take a position, you may forever be stuck with its defence. There may be no escape. The boring, the mundane, the routine, the line of least resistance, will not do for the authentically good.
So, He wrote the headlines rather than reading the sports page. His gain was ours, His cause must be ours and the result of His living/dying/rising again has to be in us.
Why? He said so.
Authenticity requires courage, which conceives strength, which gives birth to forthrightness, for instance. He has overcome and set down on the right hand of the majesty on high.
Is it Ok if I walk with You,
while I wait?
I have trouble holding still.
I remember when I met You
but that can’t be the whole deal, can it?
I really need to know what You’re doing now."