Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Charity = Generosity + Idealism?

In response to my post on Idealism vs. Generosity, Stacie left a comment that ended "I don't know whether you would say that charity encompasses/requires both generosity and idealism." The charity of which she spoke was, of course, the pure love of Christ, and not a reference to a non-profit organization.

Before I respond to the comment, I'll first say that (1) to contradict a previous post, I won't necessarily respond to every reader comment as a separate and distinct post, since I may not always have a strong opinion or good answer; (2) one main reason I plan to avoid partisanship on this web site is that helping others should have no bounds based on race, creed, gender, political party, etc.; (3) another reason I try to avoid partisanship is my belief that the spirit of contention is not of [Christ], but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.; and finally (4) as friends, family, and anyone who has clicked on one of my scriptural links has probably gathered, I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While I am proud to be a "Mormon," and I believe that the book by the same name is the word of God along with the Bible, I tend to favor verses from the Bible over verses from the Book of Mormon when sharing with a broader audience, since I would not want someone's doubts about my faith to be a potential stumbling block that gets in the way of them exploring the philanthropic topics on this site. (Wow, that was a long sentence!) I would be happy to field any questions on my faith, but just as I try avoid partisanship, I will try to avoid sectarianism. You might think it odd, then, that this blog is titled after a verse in the Book of Mormon. However, despite my attempts at diplomacy, Jacob 2:19 was the inspiration behind this blog.

So, back to the topic of the post - does charity require both generosity and idealism? I'll quote the apostle Paul, who said in 1 Corinthians 13:3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor...and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. To me, that says it's definitely possible to be generous but to not have charity. I assume it's similarly possible to by idealistic but to not be motivated by charity. I'll go out on a limb and surmise that without charity, idealism is likewise profitless. So generosity plus idealism does not necessarily equal charity.

What constitutes charity, then? Paul continues, Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

To me, kindness and generosity go hand-in-hand. In fact, I looked it up, and thesaurus.com agrees with my connection of those two terms. I would also link hope with idealism. Thesaurus.com doesn't directly back me up on this one, but it does link hope with optimism, and it links optimism and idealism. Ergo, by the transitive property, hope is linked to idealism. So while generosity plus idealism doth not charity make, both are components of charity.

Now that I've used the Bible, a thesaurus, and mathematics to prove that charity encompasses/requires both generosity and idealism, it's time for bed. Goodnight.

No comments: