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« Inside, outside | Main | Duck Dogma »
Thursday
Jan022014

Same old, good old ...

Image from http://www.hdwallpapersinn.com.So here it is, another new year, and I find myself making the same resolutions I made last year, and the year before. Perhaps you've had that experience?

Surprisingly, I don't find that frustrating at all.

Such resolutions as I have are not on a formal list, and not overly specific, but they're the sort of things I routinely strive for. If something is worth doing, it's generally worth doing all the time.

New Year's, by dint of the calendar, always follows Thanksgiving and Christmas, both of which involve lots of tempting food and the inevitable addition of a few pounds, so healthier eating habits and adequate exercise are always at the forefront of my goals for a new year. God has given me a healthy, functioning body, and taking care of it is a matter of responsible stewardship.

The holidays also remind me of how important people are, and how easy it is to get self-focused and fail to be as compassionate and kind to others as I would like to be. Taking more time for others, then, is always near the top of my list.

If I'm serious about caring for others, that also means I should do what I can to promote social justice for all people, including people I've never met and am unlikely to know. That includes speaking up for folks who are especially close to God's heart, those who are poor or oppressed or discriminated against, whether close to home or in other parts of the world.

All of these things are aspects of what I think it means to follow the prophet Micah's admonition:

    He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
        and what does the LORD require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
        and to walk humbly with your God?
(Micah 6:8)

These ideals never get old, and as long as we live, they are never fully accomplished. So, if I find myself making the same resolutions every year, perhaps that doesn't suggest failure as much as trying to stay on track with what God has set as a life-long path.

Reader Comments (2)

If I'm serious about caring for others, that also means I should do what I can to promote social justice for all people, including people I've never met and am unlikely to know. That includes speaking up for folks who are especially close to God's heart, those who are poor or oppressed or discriminated against, whether close to home or in other parts of the world.

The short definition of justice: “the process or result of using laws to fairly judge and punish crimes and criminals.” The longer one: “the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments.” The term “social justice” is bandied about by people who actually mean “social mercy.” Justice is simply that which obtains when an individual has been determined according to the law to be either free or punished in some way. The social justice of God in the OT (total annihilation of Sisera's army, for instance) became the social mercy of the NT, though many if not all of the OT condemnations, such as homosexual behavior, adultery, murder, etc., remained. Those especially close to God's heart (whatever that means) would seem to be very fortunate, but how does one determine who they are? If such beings exist, only God knows who they are but would seem by mere human understanding to be everyone. Spiritual discrimination would not seem to be God's way.

Jan 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJim Clark

"All of these things [previously mentioned] are aspects of what I think it means to follow the prophet Micah's admonition: . . . These ideals never get old, and as long as we live, they are never fully accomplished."

Here is my (most certainly open to improvement) take on Micah's "activities of righteousness."

I believe the church is called to be a community of the practice of right-relationship. Biblical righteousness is not a fixed state of affairs but a dynamic, on-going process of properly ordering and reordering our relationship to others. Righteousness is an ideal toward which we are to strive.

Among others, three kinds of actions are foundational to Christian life and are to be nurtured in the church. 1) Restorative judgments. These are decisions and ways of leading which focus on restoring right-relationship through acts of reconciliation and justice-making. 2) Life-enhancing care. These are acts of love which sustain life and honor death such that right-relationship is preserved. 3) Commitment to mutuality. These are acts of trust and faithfulness which are grounded in an awareness of the interdependent nature of life and our need to pay attention to each other in order that right-relationship be expanded and deepened. The result or work of right-relationship is wholeness, fullness and health.

And yes, these actions/activities require on-going discernment and openness to correction.

Jan 3, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDickWilson

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