Stanley Hauerwas’ virtuous person:

to be a person of virtue therefore involves acquiring the linguistic, emotional, and rational skills that give us the strength to make our decisions and our life our own. Thus individual virtues are specific skills required to be faithful to the traditions understanding of the moral project in which its adherents participate. Like any skills, the virtues must be learned and coordinated in a single life as a master craftsman has learned to blend the many skills necessary for the exercise of any complex craft. Moreover, such skills require constant practice, as they can simply be a matter of routine or technique. For skills, unlike technique, give the craftsman the ability to respond creatively to the always unanticipated difficulties involved in any craft in a manner that technique can never provide. That is why the person of virtue is also often thought of as a person of power and that his moral skills provide him with resources to do easily with some who are less virtuous would find difficult. (Stanley Hauerwas, editors David K. Clark and Robert V. Rakestraw, “Virtue,” 254)

What is wrong with this definition and description of being a virtuous person? In light of:

Are you still so dull? Jesus asked them. 17 Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart and these make a man unclean. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what make a man of unclean; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him unclean. — Matthew 15: 16-20

Do you see the difference between Hauerwas’ and Jesus’ definition of what makes a person virtuous? This is a fundamental difference that has heavy consequences for one’s spirituality — and actually is not separate from soteriorological issues.

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