by Tom Sine
“Resolutions That Are Good for the Soul” is a very encouraging read by Rev. Tish Harrison Warren published in the New York Times on January 4, 2023. She begins: “I love the intentionality and the thoughtfulness required to make a resolution.” She explains that she is personally drawn to resolutions that “provide the grace to try new things.” Warren contests that “The point of resolutions shouldn’t be to add another task to our busy lives…The point is that renewal is always possible, and with grace we can all try new things:we can continue to grow and change.”
Rev. Tish Harrison Warren invited a few other authors to join her in this commentary about creating resolutions for this new year. I will also include two of my favorites.
Begin the day reading about faith
“I am going to use New Year’s to try and bring the practice of beginning the day with a physical book about faith into my everyday life.”
Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith America
Confront your sorrow.
“I love how ‘courage’ derives from the Latin word for ‘heart’. In the coming year, I want to courageously acknowledge specific ways in which my heart has been broken – by people, by racism, bu institutions and even by God- so that I can pursue the healing I need. If we want to be agents of healing to our hurting world, we must courageously and continuously pursue the healing of our own hearts.”
Rev. Michelle T. Sanchez, author of “Color-Courageous Discipleship” and “God’s Beloved Community“
I would like to suggest some other resolutions followers of Jesus might consider. In 2020s Foresight: Three Vital Practices for Thriving in a Decade of Accelerating Change, I pointed out that one of the most serious blind spots in many of our churches is that most of us tend to operate like “it will always be the 90s”. As a consequence, most of our churches and those we serve locally and globally tend to get hammered by change more than they should!
I also point out that urban planers and environmental planners are trained to not only anticipate new waves of change but aggressively research innovative ways to respond before the waves of change before they fully arrive. 2020s Foresight is designed as a study book to enable groups in churches to become more foresightful and more innovative.
Christianity Today reports the recent waves of change from the first waves of Covid have been devastating for many churches. According to the Barna group, one in three practicing Christians stopped attending church during COVID; and regular church attendance dropped “from 34% in 2019 to 28% in 2021” (Here’s Who Stopped Going to Church During the Pandemic, Wang & Elhage, 2023). Church leaders need to not only be concerned about declining numbers in our churches. We also need to share the extent to which our declining attendance is impacting volunteering and giving in our churches. How can we empower our neighbors locally and globally, many of whom will continue to hammered by new waves of covid as well as accelerating waves of climate change in 2023 and beyond?
I invite you to consider adopting some new years resolutions like:
Resolving in 2023 to attend a church where you feel safe.
Christine and I attend Seattle Mennonite where they voted to to maintain a mask policy to significantly reducing the risk of contracting covid as well as provide a video option. As a consequence this church has experienced very little decline in attendance and outreach..
Resolving in 2023 to increase the giving of our time and resources to significantly increase the well being of families both locally and globally as our vulnerable neighbors face daunting new challenges.
Resolving in 2023 to carve out time to be present to God in daily reflection on Scripture and prayer in increasingly turbulent tomorrows.
Resolving in 2023 to join innovative leaders in our churches who are learning to anticipate and creatively respond to the new waves coming our way in 2023 and beyond.. We have the opportunity to join those who are creatng innovative ways to both be a difference and make a difference.
For those who are interested I am available by Zoom or in person to enable those in your community to learn new ways to both anticipate and creatively respond to new waves of change that reflect the ways of Jesus. Contact me Tom Sine firstname.lastname@example.org