By Andrew Gerns
If your New Year’s resolutions are at all like mine, then these are resolves that are filled with hope and good intentions that soon fall hard to reality. I know I should eat less and exercise more, but somehow I always manage to get these two backwards. And, two weeks into the New Year, I know that many of my best intentions already a by-gone memory.
Just the same, I know that there are things in my life that I would like to do better. These are behaviors that one just cannot will to make better, but really need to be cultivated into a habit. And I am not just talking about the usual vices; I am also talking about the spiritual life.
Here are my
twenty religious resolutions for the New Year:
1. I will allow my religion to change me
2. I will resist telling other people how to change.
3. I will seek to make my religion a channel for gratitude and appreciation.
4. I will avoid using my religion as a channel for my anger.
5. I will expect my faith to challenge me to be live ethically.
6. I will give up needing to be certain about everything.
7. I will allow my religion to both care for and challenge my insecurities.
8. I will pay attention when my culture and my faith are in conflict.
9. I will be wary of leaders who use religion to sow hatred, fear or division
10. I will allow my religion to temper my passion with humility.
11. I will work to be for something good even when it easier to be against something bad.
12. I will not allow my religion to become a fad or a trend.
13. I will allow my religion to keep pace with my maturity.
14. I will remember that my religion is for the benefit of the people and world around me.
15. I will avoid holding on too tightly to my religion as a personal possession.
16. I will give up punishment and shame as tool for religious persuasion.
17. When I fail, I will expect my religion to challenge me to be responsible.
18. I will not let the fact that I am an imperfect practitioner of my religion deter me from living my faith.
19. I will not let the imperfection of other people’s faith deter me from having faith.
20. I will accept beauty, fun, spontaneity and companionship as signs of God at work.
Have a blessed New Year.
[Canon Andrew Gerns, rector of Trinity Easton, is chair of the diocesan Evangelism Commission and member of the Standing Committee of the Diocese of Bethlehem.]