A Modern Moral Compass: Everyday Virtues

Looking for a simple way to find direction in a morally misguided and spiritually disoriented culture?  Often it seems like darkness and confusion obscure our efforts to guide our children, grand-children, students, teens, and young adults on the path to strong character and healthy holiness. As a society, we seem to have lost our moral compass.  I’m here to offer…a Modern Moral Compass.


Virtues to Guide Us


This moral compass is a collection of 30 Everyday Virtues™: simple reference points for us to recognize and exercise the holy habits of true goodness. Folks who are well versed in the ways of faith and virtue will see some terms typically known as the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit, along with other descriptors recognized as human or theological Virtues. The Everyday Virtues bring these terms together as easy-to-remember touchstones on which, over time, we can build deeper and richer understanding. These virtues are arranged in six categories that correspond to different functions of our personalities. Virtues can sometimes be dismissed as an old-fashioned religious notions. I want us to remember that virtue isn’t a religious thing. It’s a human thing. God designed human beings with a unique capacity for holiness and virtue.

It is important to remember that this moral compass is not an exhaustive list of virtues. There are more virtuous dispositions and behaviors than these. I hope the Modern Moral Compass of Everyday Virtues will start a conversation. It can help us to see the value of virtue. It can also increase our understanding of how virtue operates in us. Lastly, it can encourage us to discover even more ways God calls us to habits of holiness.


Finding Direction in Christ


Our compass rose is the Chi rho sign. It is an ancient abbreviation of the Chi Rho on stonename of Christ. It reminds us of who points us in the right direction. Jesus is virtue incarnate and our best moral choices are a reflection of Him.  The different groups of compass virtues highlight specific expressions of Christ-like love that we can choose to exercise. When we cooperate with God’s grace, these habits can grow strong in us and can become as natural as breathing. Holiness is not just for the saints  of long ago. We can embrace the power of grace to enable us to take hundreds of tiny steps each day to conform our thoughts, words, and actions to the model of Christ.

Descriptions of each of the six categories of virtues are followed by the Modern Moral Compass graphic showing them all together.


Explore the Modern Moral Compass


Moving in a clockwise direction from the top of our compass, we begin at True North: Virtues we BELIEVE. The virtues of faith, humility, acceptance, mercy, and hope operate deep in our core beliefs. They are the source from which the other virtues in each function of our personality flow.


North East: Virtues we PERCIEVE. These virtues operate in the way we perceive, and are all about how we take life in. They are the lens through which we look at our circumstances and experiences with love. The perception virtues are Vision, Humor, Peace, Adaptability, and Modesty.


Southeast: Virtues we THINK. These virtues are exercised on our patterns of thinking. Grace enables us to master our thoughts as internal dispositions for multi-faceted love. Virtue takes shape in our thoughts in the form of Faithfulness, Wisdom, Steadfastness, Integrity, and Charity.


South: Virtues we FEEL. Most people don’t realize it, but we can be intentionally virtuous in our emotions. We can choose to exercise the virtues of Joyfulness, Trust, Devotion, Empathy, and Gratitude. Our feelings don’t have to be simply a reaction to a stimuli. Our will with empowered by God’s Grace can create loving emotional mastery within us.


West: Virtues we DECIDE.  These are the virtues that operate in our faculty of decision-making. The selfless love expressed in our decisions emerges as Cooperation, Patience, Fortitude, Transcendence (choices based on seeking the greater good), and Self-Discipline. Still predominantly internal, decision virtues open the door to virtuous action.


Northwest: Virtues we DO. These virtues are where interior dispositions become action. The action virtues of Honesty, Inspiration, Kindness, Courage and Perseverance are evident in what we say and do. When we DO the action virtues, our selfless loving habits are an obvious blessing to ourselves and to everyone around us.


Modern Moral Compass™ of 30 Everyday Virtues

Modern Moral Compass Graphic



The unique six-category structure of this collection of virtues make them memorable and accessible. Of the 30 Everyday Virtues, it is interesting to note that 25 of them function on an interior level within us, while only 5 operate in more active external ways. Understanding this dynamic helps us focus effort on the purity of our intentions. We can have interior mastery in which we do the good actions for truly good and selfless reasons. We can be intentional with our interior virtue behavior as well as our external virtue behavior. This is why these thirty virtues are the basis of the virtue framework within™ the ministry of Virtue Works Media. Our interior dispositions are profoundly influenced by what we read and watch. Choosing virtuous reading and entertainment strengthens us to think, speak and act with virtue.


Consider the Source


Dr J HeadshotPlease note, I am not the one who developed this amazing personality structure of positive spiritual strengths. The mentor who helped me look at life through the lens of virtue is Dr. Richard Johnson, PhD, PCSG. It is his work that is the inspiration behind the format of the 30 Everyday Virtues pictured in the Modern Moral Compass. He is an amazing professional who has spent decades documenting the spiritual roots of motivational patterns in human personality. His work has centered on research observing the personality habits of a broad age range of ladies and gents, helping them find healing and wholeness. He helps people embrace aging and finish strong. He invented the term spiritual gerontology. What’s extraordinary is that his discoveries apply to human nature…at all stages of life. I consider his work profoundly important because it exemplifies in a beautiful way, that we can learn from our elders. It is with his permission that I have translated the Spiritual Strengths Personality Model from the language of therapy and healing into the terminology of 30 handy Everyday Virtues™. These are the foundation of the virtue rating system being developed for the ministry of  VIRTUE WORKS MEDIA along with the related tools for parents, grandparents and teachers to use in virtue formation in children and teens.


Calibrating Your Personal Interior GPS


You can get acquainted with The Spiritual Strengths Personality Model in Dr. Johnson’s book, Discover Your Spiritual Strengths. You can also determine your personal spiritual fingerprint, the six premier spiritual strengths that shine brightest in your personality, in the Johnson Institute Spiritual Strengths Profile assessment. Enjoy a steady dose of mentoring advice at Dr. Johnson’s blog: Aging: The Master Teacher.


Cathy Head shot open smileI’m Cathy Gilmore, an author, editor, educator and  VIRTUE WORKS MEDIA Ministry founder. We are pioneering an entirely new way to look at both print and visual media. Through the lens of virtue. This is the start of a movement in which educators and families can have clear rubrics and a dynamic platform that enables everyone to think about, enjoy and recommend quality reading and entertainment that feeds starving souls and empowers virtuous behavior. Follow me on twitter @PowerofParable to get virtuous movie and book recommendations and practical virtue tips and examples.

Follow this blog at www.CatherineCGilmore.com. to get the latest information as this ministry emerges. Contact me at VirtueWorksMedia@outlook.com .

I believe Jesus had the right idea. He spoke in parables. That wasn’t just for the folks in the first century. God can use the power of parable right now to reshape culture and renew the face of the earth.

Look for the Good. Offer it to everyone.