From my 2004 book, Moral Values: What I Learned Growing Up in Church [now a free e-Book] – The church today is deeply divided over our understanding of moral values and their biblical roots. Some people define key moral values as abortion and homosexuality, and some say key moral values are larger than that, the values of life and love. Some see black-and-white values taught in scripture, and others see shades of gray in a biblical tradition with its roots embedded in writings spread out over 1,000 years.
The choice is not either/or but both/and. There are some clear black-and-white moral teachings in scripture (though not as many as some people think), and there are many shades of understanding of such concerns as marriage, family life, sexuality, religious life, the sanctity of all life, and the roles of men and women in society, to name just a few.
In a small book like this we cannot consider all the moral teachings of scripture. And this is not an academic study of any of them. It is a personal witness to my faith. I want to focus on the ultimate moral values of life and love, especially love. What does the Bible teach us about love, and what are the implications of love in our concern for those who have yet to be born and our concern for the sacredness of marriage – two areas of moral values argued so vociferously during the 2004 U.S. election?
Will the church survive its deep divisions? Will mainstream denominations in the U.S. find a way to continue to live together despite the seemingly insurmountable differences of understanding about what we believe to be of ultimate importance in our faith? Will the different branches of the church – sometimes characterized as conservative and liberal – be able to accept each other as members of the same spiritual body and family and learn to live together without rancor and with respect? These are the fervent questions in my heart and soul as I write this book.