Since we’re all going to break our New Year’s Resolutions anyway, let’s see if there are any that qualify as unbreakable.
Then, when we go awry, we’ll be able to upbraid ourselves with a minimum of pain.
After all, it’s easier to beg forgiveness than to ask for permission.
I’ve even thrown in a Bible verse or two to help. Here we go:
Resolution No. 1: I will continue to root for war and call myself a Christian (Exodus 20).
Resolution No. 2: I will not require truth from my leaders, and will readily provide rationalizations to the point of swallowing a camel for those who think like me, while straining a gnat to attack those with whom I do not agree (Matthew 23, and that pesky Exodus 20).
Resolution No. 3: I will declare that the verbal (and physical) debasement of women is only harmless “Boy Talk” (Proverbs 11, 16, 18, 20, 26, Romans 1 and 2nd Corinthians 12).
Resolution No. 4: I will take no responsibility for helping anyone who is poor, particularly if it involves the expenditure of some of the hard-earned tax dollars I paid despite making every effort, because I’m smart, to withhold every last cent for my own safekeeping (Leviticus 25, Ezekiel 16, John 12 and Acts 9).
Resolution No. 5: I will make a concerted effort to only listen to, read and discuss information derived from people who look like, sound like, think like or live near me, and will regard anyone who doesn’t fit those criteria as enemies of my country, my community, my church and myself (Exodus 22, Deuteronomy 10, Luke 17).
Resolution No. 6: I shall write on the tablet of my heart the following unimpeachable rule: “The one who dies with the most toys wins” (Deuteronomy 5, James 4).
Resolution No. 7: I will fall down and worship every person who gives me what I’m after, particularly if that guarantees no one else will get the same thing (Genesis 20:3).
Resolution No. 8: I will make only a symbolic effort to clean up the air, water and land I occupy, including intentionally turning my back on new technologies that make each of those things cleaner. Further, I will rationalize my actions by claiming doing so costs too much money and too many jobs, despite the overwhelming evidence it does neither and, in fact, saves both money and the lives of my great-grandchildren (Genesis 2, Numbers 35, Matthew 10, Romans 1).
Resolution No. 9: I will shun and openly condemn those whom God has made different from me, whether their skin is a different color, their culture worships God in a different way, or their sexual or gender orientation is different from mine. I will use only those interpretations taught to me by people who make it a point to exclude any depth of scholarship from their teaching, particularly with respect to time, language or context (James 4, Hebrews 13, Galatians 5).
Resolution No. 10: Remembering the Bible never outlaws slavery or the subjugation of women, while prohibiting the cutting of one’s hair, getting divorced, getting a tattoo, the use of fortune tellers, the taking of a census, or wearing clothing with more than one fabric, I will continue to condemn everyone who does not interpret it in any manner different from my own (Leviticus 19 — yeah, that chapter’s pretty comprehensive).
There’s more, but this ought to be enough to help get your new year off to a roaring start.
And remember, fellow Christians, religious hypocrisy is something that only applies to somebody else.
The Rev. Dr. Robert D. Sichta is the Pastor Emeritus of the Congregational United Church of Christ in Bradenton, an open and affirming body in pursuit of a 21st Century Progressive Theology. They meet at 10 a.m. each Sunday at 241 Whitfield Ave. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday’s Bradenton Herald written by local clergy members.