What I know about moral values I learned growing up in Protestant churches and in a Christian home. We went to church on Sunday as a matter of choice, perhaps of habit. Whether out of choice or habit, we went both to Sunday School and to worship. And as a teen, I went to youth group and to choir. Some years it seemed we were at the church more evenings than not.
In high school I spoke with my pastor about a sense of call to the ministry. He wondered why I felt a call, and I responded that the church was so much a part of my experience I wanted to spend my life there. And he said that wasn’t enough reason to prepare for ordained ministry. He was right. In succeeding years I did experience a deep sense of divine calling to give my life to God through the church and the pastoral ministry. For 35 years, that’s what I have done. And I know now, more than ever, ordained ministry has been God’s call in my life.
My personal library is filled with books I have read. My formal education led to a Doctor of Ministry from Princeton Theological Seminary. I study, read, and learn from others all the time to test what I think and believe. My library has a dozen Bibles which I’ve under-lined and outlined over the years, as well as commentary sets and Bible study resources I’ve devoured as I seek to know and understand the scriptures. My heart and mind yearn for confidence that God is behind my convictions and moral commitments, that the Spirit guides my moral choices.
BASIC MORAL VALUES
Given that experience of learning over 35 years as a minister, and changes here and there in how I live out my fundamental values as a Christian, the moral values I hold and the choices I make still come out of the core of what I learned as a child growing up in church and in a Christian home.
I learned early in life simple lessons like these:
- Be kind to others.
- Be patient.
- Respect everyone.
- Forgive people who hurt you.
- Stand up to bullies without fighting.
- Be honest without hurting people.
- Let other people be who they are.
- Be faithful to your friends.
- Love God and other people.
These simple values form the concrete foundation
for the life God calls me to live out in the church, as well as in the world. I am convinced that God calls the whole church to live by them as well. As I experience the church today, I see a large crack in the foundation. …..
Read my book online Moral Values: What I Learned Growing Up in Church