On Shamefulness by Thomas S. Buchanan

On Shamefulness

Keep your heart with all vigilance; for from it flow the springs of life. Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you. Take heed to the path of your feet, then let all your ways be sure. Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
—Proverbs 4:23–27

In his wisdom, Solomon told us to keep our hearts steadfast, our speech pure, our gaze forward, and our feet on the right path. On the surface, this is a commonsense statement, but in reality it is a very difficult thing to do. Watching our hearts, mouths, eyes, and feet is far from trivial. Although I doubt this was simple 3,000 years ago, today’s virtual world provides even more opportunities for us to swerve to the right or to the left. From many of the crude television waves beamed into our homes to the cyberporn waiting to be clicked over our phone lines, our lives are supplied with an astonishing number of easy ways to pollute the springs of life that should flow from our hearts.

A thousand years or so after Solomon, Paul wrote to the Ephesians about no longer being darkness, but being light. He told them that to be followers of Christ, they must act differently. When referring to the practices of those outside the Church, he says, “it is a shame even to speak of the things they do in secret” (Eph. 5:12).

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Thomas S. Buchanan is the George W. Laird Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Delaware. He has studied at UCSD, Northwestern University, and MIT, and has held visiting professorships at the University of Western Australia and the University of Aix-Marseille. He has served as department chairman, deputy dean, and institute director, president of the American Society of Biomechanics, and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Biomechanics. He is on the Board of Trustees of Saint Katherine College, the editorial board of Touchstone, and the board of The Fellowship of St. James.

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