Taking a cue from Dean, I decided it would be an interesting task to catalog my core values, in little bite-sized pieces. Inexhaustive, often redundant, and mostly unordered, here goes...

  • True freedom comes through interdependence, not independence.
  • With food, always be a careful grower, a picky shopper, a generous server, and a gracious eater.
  • Spiritual health comes through the body, not in spite of it.
  • Never argue if you're not willing to change your opinion.
  • Found your identity in the present time and place.
  • The Gospel cannot be confined by one book or religion.
  • God cannot be domesticated.
  • Don't be busy.
  • Just say yes.
  • Ideas should serve people, places, and things - not the other way around.
  • Don't love ideas. Love people, places, and things.
  • Love the present more than the future or past.
  • There are no rights, only gifts and responsibilities.
  • Never mistake an idea, metaphor, name, or story for the reality to which it points.
  • Purity is a red herring.
  • Be skeptical of arbitrary boundaries and distinctions.
  • There's no fine line between skills and virtues.
  • Avoid power.
  • An unwillingness to produce crap leads to creative constipation.
  • Err on the side of being too open and honest.
  • Apologize early, apologize often.
  • Cynicism is conviction drained of hope.
  • Don't suppress your vices - redeem them.
  • Your money, your stuff, and your time belong to God. Have without possessing.
  • Every point in the universe is a pore through which the love of God seeps into reality.
  • By being a burden to someone, you love them.
  • True integrity comes through fluidity and growth, not unchanging rigidity.
  • Everyone, in every time, in every galaxy, has boundless eternal forgiveness; and can do nothing to earn it, lose it, or rationalize it.
  • No one's prayers are worth less than anyone else's.
  • "The Church" does not mean "church services".
  • Listen to your heart.
  • The distinction between acts of God and acts of Nature or Man is a false one.
  • Be poor.
  • Practice economy - quit the Economy.
  • Follow the two rules of neighborly economics: Be thrifty, be generous.
  • Lead by example, not by force or coercion.
  • Cars are like Stormtrooper helmets - they obscure the humanity of the people inside.
  • Be flawed.
  • Everything is redeemable, no matter how foul. (Poop is compostable.)
  • Everything that happens provides an opportunity to grow in wisdom.
  • Learn from nature.
  • Eagerly learn more about the Gospel from atheists, agnostics, and people of other faiths.
  • Ask big questions without expecting answers.
  • Love without expectations.

It's amazing to stop and think that while this task - listing my values - is fairly easy, I hardly ever do it. In fact I think this is the first time since college I've asked myself a question so broad as "What do I believe?" I wonder if making a habit of it - perhaps repeating this exercise once a month or so - could make me less susceptible to pessimism and cynicism.