We are Christians
“… the discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and
obligation. …” – Merriam – Webster Dictionary
In general we all understand what ethical behavior is but often we do not live within the constructs of behavior we claim to adhere to. HCC is a Christian institution which means our values are shaped by our discipleship in Jesus Christ.
The consequence of a Christian Worldview is that ethics becomes framed within our Christian Values. HCC therefore approaches teaching of ethics through all modalities but most importantly by example and mentoring. We not only speak to “ good” ethic but we will live to a “good ethic”.
The norm in teaching ethics is to fragment the topic into specialization areas; medical ethics, Christian ethics, business ethics, political ethics, social ethics, etc. Although there are issues within the context of these areas and others, at HCC we will teach one unified ethic. As Christian lives by one set of principals across all roles in their lives. E.g. in business they should behave in the same way they do in church
or family. That does not mean issues are the same in all contexts but our approach should be unified and consistent with our values. If we don’t, we see examples of people who act differently and inconsistently in different roles.
At HCC we believe our faculty, staff & students should be consistent in living their ethical values. The CEPE role in ethics is to help reinforce opportunities to demonstrate, mentor and encourage consistent ethical behavior which comes from Christian values; which in themselves come from the values we see Jesus, his
apostles and the New Testament writers speak to.
We believe society requires ordered progress not chaos
Economic development theory suggests that some amount of chaos is inevitable as countries develop their economies. Over time, discipline becomes crucial so that behavior expectations can be assumed and risk considerations can be accessed.
This progression to order is necessary in order to attract investment. Investors will not become involved when the risks cannot be contained in some range of expectations. Even in family life people need to know what to expect. Safety, rules in regard to property rights, etc. must stabilize in order for people to feel safe in investing in their homes, etc.
Teaching and mentoring ethics is an integral element of this process of progress. At HCC we believe the ethics should be encouraged from within a Christian value system. Not all people in society will adhere to the same ethical system and some may not even consider the ethical implications of their behavior. However, we expect our graduates to do so. Ultimately the choice is theirs but HCC faculty & staff
will encourage and live to these values.
HCC graduates understand that opportunity comes with responsibility
It is easy for people to take advantage of others when they do not live their lives in an ethical manner; hopefully a Christ centered ethic. Not only is ethics essential and necessary for the development of society but as Christians we are compelled to be responsible and therefore live to the ethics we have been taught. If we do not, we are by our actions not consistent Disciples of Christ. Our lives should reflect God’s values in all we do! When we do not live to these values, we are not acting as God’s redeemed children and portraying overt disrespect for God our father.
HCC graduates understand that they carry a responsibility because of who they are – God’s redeemed children. HCC graduates will therefore make differences in all aspects of their lives because doing so is consistent with who they are.
HCC graduates understand that modeling ethical behavior is right but also prudent
As noted above ethics is viewed by the secular world as necessary for ordered and progressive societies. The absence is chaos. The only tool society has to manage values is law. Law is an imperfect arbiter. We know this from the biblical story and the how the Old Testament law does not solve unruly behavior. IT teaches expectations or creates boundaries but as Gal 3:16ff notes, it only brings mankind so far. We need
a system that embraces the “heart and conscience” as Jesus’ shows us. The whole story of Christianity is about God’s work to bring us back to him. He could not do this with law but only by engaging the heart.
HCC graduates understand these thoughts. However, they also understand that society requires ethical behavior even as a basic control; a way to establish normative behavior; i.e. we agree with the secular view that it is prudent to encourage ethical lives. We however believe the ethic comes from Christ. Central to Christs value possibly the core is the idea of servant. In all that Jesus Christ did he did all as a servant.
HCC graduates will live their lives as servants
It is fascinating to note that the business world has adopted inverted leadership models whereby the CEO is viewed as a servant to all employees and an enabler of their work. Yes, he / she is the “boss” but inverted leadership models are design to encourage enabled / empowered workers not “mechanical doers” of orders. The implication in business is clear. We need motivated empowered workers not “doers
of commands”. Only then can business grow as needed. Only then do employees truly become valuable. It is easy to envision how this idea extends into our roles in family and church. We are not “boss” we are servants that enable!
These ideas do not discourage accountability but in fact encourage it. “Doers of commands” can blame the one providing commands, enabled workers are accountable for their own actions.