CLUBS TO TRAIN IN THE GREAT VIRTUES
Jonah’s Club is an educational center and community for Tender-hearted, Practical Leaders and Tough-minded, Disciplined Christians. It is here to fulfill our essential desire to become the person we would most happily be, in our fully human dimensions.
Our sole purpose is to train ourselves to be virtuous in character, as to embody the life divine. That is, the cultivation of our essential self – wise, self-controlled, courageous, just, faithful, hopeful and loving.
This idea is encapsulated in our motto, “Exerce Te Ipsum Ad Virtute”, as written on our logo. It derives from the wisdom of St. Paul, who nearly 20 centuries ago advised,
“Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; but rather, train yourself to be [virtuous]”
– i.e. Exerce Te Ipsum Ad Virtute
1 Timothy 4:7
Jonah’s Club lives up to this imperative to do just that
– to provide a gym-like center to train ourselves in the great virtues of the human soul.
Jonah’s Club stands in direct contrast to contemporary mainstream educational centers that in the words of St. Paul, have invented ‘godless myths’ and ‘old wives tales’. For never before in our history has this characterization been truer. We need but look at any average bookshop or library to observe this exact pattern, and in what constitutes as ‘popular advice’ on how to live the good and happy life…
On one hand, we have the “godless myths” as observed throughout most of the ‘non-fiction’ parts of a bookshop. These myths are present in the forms of militant new atheism like with Richard Dawkins and company, who want people to think of our universe as a mere mindless machine; in the old school atheism of Karl Marx who reduced human life to just economics (currently alive in critical theory, social justice and paradoxically, an obsession with getting rich); and in Sigmund Freud and company, who reduced all human motives to sexual impulses, (currently alive in the various fixations with gender identity, orientation and sexual liberation).
These ‘godless myths’ – which wrap themselves in a thin veil of dubious and deceptive science – are effectively closing the hearts of millions. They are habitualizing the perception of a world of mere matter, of surfaces-think only – mindless mechanics, merciless economics and meaningless sex. It is effectively killing our unique capacity for reverencing life, its beauty and its significance. It lacks virtue.
Jonah’s Club as such is not for the smug, arm-chair philosophers from various schools of atheism that present random ideas for happiness and well-being based on statistical probabilities. We don’t offer disjointed opinions that ought to be adopted, because of ‘evolutionary science’ says so, or because in a random, meaningless universe that has accidentally birthed conscious beings – we ought to “do the most good we can do”, just because…
Jonah’s Club is for Tender-Hearted, Practical Leaders. It is for those who are sensitive to the inherent dignity of being human due to our spiritual nature. It is for those who are genuinely compassionate and who practically want to see the total good be present in our personal lives, our families and our communities.
Jonah’s Club is for heart-connected leaders in the fields of business, community organizing or government stewardship – who want to live out the truth of our best thinking, and to be able to will what we think, as one thing.
We work to cultivate our essential virtues from which transformational leadership emerges. We strengthen our strengths by habitualizing the practices that lead to greater wisdom, increased self-control and courage, and an expanded social intelligence through which trust develops, i.e. justice. That’s Virtue Habitualization Education.
OLD WIVES TALES
On the other hand, there’s never been a more dominant time when so many well-intentioned, tenderhearted people engage in “old wives tales”. Libraries of spirituality, psychology and self-help now proliferate with an almost exclusive know-how made up of ‘soft headed thinking’. A general gullibility made up of long dismissed superstitions, half-baked ideas, feel-good wishful thinking are now the norm.
We observe this in current best selling authors like with Rhonda Byrnes and the Law of Attraction, wherein life’s purpose is to simply ‘attract’ whatever our ego desires…We see it in the ‘supermarket spirituality’ of authors like Esther Hicks, Judy Knight, or Jane Roberts who ‘channel’ bits and pieces from various spiritual traditions to suit ‘leisure lifestyles’… We see it in Consumer Christianity which preachers that the life of Jesus is mostly about ‘convenience, compatibility and coolness’.
Just like “godless myths” which are predominantly the invention of a rogue masculinity conceited in its own cleverness, “old wives tales” are often the product of a rogue femininity that dismisses facts and feeds on feelings. One believes what one wants to believe. And this too lacks virtue.
For ‘old wives tales’ destroy our capacities to reason, which is one of the greatest gifts in being human. We live in a strange time, when a general population is 10 times more likely to turn to a psychic to navigate life’s big decisions, than to a prudent priest or philosopher… We can observe how many today dismiss the power of proper, principled planning – to problem-solve all things with a simplistic, ‘Just Be More Present’. We can observe this by how many Christians today ignore wisdom, just to ‘get funky with Jesus’?
Jonah’s Club is for Tough-Minded, Disciplined Christians. It is for those who are not afraid or lazy to do some real thinking and to engage in the act of logic, reason and faith. It is for those who want to take up the discipline of becoming the very best self they can be, seriously. It is for those Christians, who by seek to do more than say that they believe in Jesus, but to be like Him.
For it is truth that sets us free, and what is not of truth only enslaves.
What we at Jonah’s Club are about is the ‘real-deal’ actualization of our character. We cultivate and strengthen our best virtues, so that we may realize the depths of true soul happiness. We focus on the habits of faith, of hope, of love and how we may have them flourish.
We aim at total transformation: in our hearts, our minds, our actions, our relations, and the full embodiment of our mission. We aim not to have a mission, but to BE our mission, in our world.
That’s Virtue Habitualization Education.