It’s not often I read something in the local newspaper, especially the Religion page, that strikes me in such a way it causes me to pause and say, “Hmmmm….” to myself. This morning that happened. Twice! Thus I commend those items that caused the pause. The first was this article written by Rev. Andrew T. Gerns, Rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Easton, PA. The article, in its entirety, can be found here.
The part that had me pause was this, “And no matter how hard we try, our faith – any faith – has public dimensions. It is what we do with what we believe together and separately that really matters.” Then Rev. Gerns goes on to list 12 New Year’s Resolutions that he suggests are for “religious people” as well as himself. I like them…well enough to adopt them.
1. I will allow my religion to change me, rather than make my religion bless what I already know. I will also be less worried about telling other people how to correct how they should live.
2. I will not use my religion as a channel for my anger; instead, I will allow my faith to open my heart to joy.
3. I will allow my faith to help me engage people I would just as soon avoid such as the poor, the suffering, the sick and the imprisoned.
4. I will give up having to be certain about everything. God will always know more than I do anyway.
5. I will not confuse my patriotism with my faith and I will be wary of people who try to manipulate religion for a political end.
6. At the same time, I will not be surprised or discouraged when the powerful resist the insight and critique of people of faith.
7. I will admit that when I am passionate about something it is hard to sort out what is coming from God and what is coming from me.
8. I will work for something good even though it is more exciting to fight against something bad.
9. I will remember that religious discourse is necessary and healthy as long as it is a dialogue between seekers.
10. I will value my neighbors’ faith story and style of believing especially when it is different from my own.
11. I will stop assuming that faith and fun are contradictory.
12. I will go gently on myself and fellow believers when we fall short of our high ideals because God is much more patient with us than we are with ourselves.