8 Values Master

handling dangerous treasure

Questions for reflection

Are there any universal values?

How do your values interconnect with one another? Do you feel that any are in tension with one another?

Do you think that the recognition of universal human rights in today’s culture is a good thing? If so why?

Do you believe that there is any such thing as a ‘Christian Value’?

Why might values be described as ‘dangerous treasure’?

Is it possible for Values to directly influence occupations and vocations in the way that Noel lists at the end of his chapter? If so, how can you help make this happen?

Further reading and further thoughts

“The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing. Value is one big thing. The truth about living well and being good and what is wonderful is not only coherent but mutually supporting: what we think about any one of these must stand up, eventually, to any argument we find compelling about the rest.”
Ronald Dworkin, Justice For Hedgehogs (2011); a fantastic, if in-depth, examination of the philosophy of values.

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

Read: Luke 6: 43-45; 2 Peter 1:3-8

Rushworth Kidder, Shared Values for a Troubled World: conversations with men and women of conscience, Jossey-Bass 1994

A peacemeal idea

Share a Peacemeal that has a ‘fruit focus’. Place as wide a range of fruits as possible on the table along with very fresh bread and a good wine. Take turns in choosing a fruit from the table and talking about it to the group in terms of a value that has become significant for you, or which you are exploring in more depth. Discuss why you think ‘values as fruit’ is such a reoccuring biblical image? As you eat the meal of fresh fruit together reflect on the way the kaleidoscope of tastes – sweet or sharp – blend together as satisfying whole. Does this give us any clues as to how we might imagine and experience the interplay of values in our lives?

Living it out

Living by values is living by “Yes!” Make this your daily lifestyle choice, rejecting legalism and embracing freedom. Through your words and actions consciously and persistently plant values like explosive seeds into the circumstances in which you live and watch their impact.

On your own, or as a group, work with the idea of a cascade of values (see p 126) Brainstorm values that you think are important to you and then try and group them in families or in a waterfall (‘post-it’ notes would be an effective way to do this!) Pick a particular value and try to be more aware of its impact in your life in the coming week. Revisit the cascade periodically and see if some of values emerge as more important than others.

Many difficult ethical issues arise when two values seem to clash; it can be helpful when working with dilemmas such as medical ethical issues to examine the values at play and identify where they appear to conflict. When grappling with what appear to be conflicting values, the struggle will almost always take you to a deeper, more challenging (even more disturbing) understanding of the true character of each value.

A meditation

Use a piece of instrumental music that is contemplative and non-distracting, and listen to it whilst meditating on the fruit of the spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-26. Try and use the meditation to find a way to click the fruit of the spirit into your everyday life – such as a way to be more patient in a particular relationship or more generous in a particular scenario.