A New Year's Resolution

How you do life is your real and final truth, not what ideas you believe. 
- Richard Rohr

It's a brand new year!  2020 is over at last, and I am not sorry to see it go.  

I've had worse years, personally---truth be told.  Also,  I've heard more than a few arguments about how 2020 wasn't the worst year ever by a long shot.  But still, 2020 is right up there, I'm thinking. 

Let me break some news to you now that we have a new year to try out... 

You have a serious choice to make right about now.  And the choice you make could very well determine what kind of year that 2021 will be for you.  

What is that choice? 

It's the choice to once-and-for-all begin to live the way you say you want to live.  It's the choice to let go of fear and anxiety about being good enough and simply move forward into the future with courage.  

In short, it's the choice to make your inside match your outside. 

Lots of people (us) say that they follow Jesus.  Lots of people (us) say that they love God.  Lots of people (us) claim to be Christians and to believe what the Bible says about what it means to be a Christ-follower. 

And so many of these very same people (us) then live their lives in ways that often contradict all of the things they (we) say we believe.  

There is a wonderful line from Christopher Nolan's epic Batman Begins that is delivered to Bruce Wayne by his old flame Rachel Dawes when she shows her disapproval of how he's acting, and then he repeats it back to her when he's dressed as Batman sometime later in the film: 

"It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me."  

Philosopher/theologian Peter Rollins has noted on more than one occasion that this bit of truth is one that is difficult for most of us to swallow.  We'll make poor choices, head down self-destructive paths, act selfishly... and then turn around and say, "But that's not who I  really am." 

Rollins essentially lifts up that line from Batman Begins and states that we're wrong about ourselves when we say things like that because what we do... how we live our lives... shows exactly who we are.  

You can say all kinds of things about what you believe, but if the way you live your life negates it... then maybe what you believe isn't all that important to you.  Either that, or you might need to recalibrate your beliefs.  

Either way, those of us who claim to be Jesus-followers have a choice to make in the coming year---a choice that could have a lasting impact on the world around us.  

We need to choose whether we are going to give lip service to faithful Christian discipleship but then go on living exactly how we please... ignoring or twisting Scripture to fit our worldview... conflating faith and politics in unhealthy ways... and destroying our Christian witness in the process.  

This is the year that a congruent witness is needed more than ever.  This means you and I need to truly learn what it means to follow Jesus... and only Jesus.  Let's put aside our politics, dogma, traditions, beliefs, and even our theologies for a moment and simply lift up Christ as our example.  

What a year this would be if all of us who call ourselves Christians learned to live into this truth!  Let's make it happen!  2021 will be a year of transformation!  

May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen. 


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