After this year of mass shootings, economic hi-jinks in Congress, hateful political rhetoric leading up to the election, one absurd celebrity incident after another, discord and division in every realm of our society, and failed attempts at being a better people - I am tempted to be cynical about 2013. But somewhere deep inside me there is still that kid who gathered with her family around a table on New Year’s Day to eat black-eyed peas for good luck and share the resolutions we made for the new year.
I have not really made personal resolutions the last few years because I typically fail at keeping them within the first few months of the year. But this year I want to try something new – I want to make some for our society. And yes, we may fail in the first few months of the new year but I want to put them out there anyway … and will continue to pray that we try to make them come true.
First, let’s resolve to end the culture of obscene violence in our society. Let’s end the sale of assault and assault-style weapons outside of the police and military. Let’s end the production of and sale of high volume ammunition clips. Let’s set an example as a culture that has been intimately damaged by the slaughter of the innocents and chooses to do and be better as a result. Let’s be a society that values life more than the 2nd amendment. This does not preclude hunters from being able to hunt or cops and military personnel from having the weapons they need to protect us but regular citizens do not need assault weapons or high volume clips. Our society will be better for it.
Second, let’s resolve to be more loving of one another. Let us take care of those around us who are weak, mentally and physically impaired, destitute, sick, and/or living in poverty. Let’s resolve to do the right thing for our neighbors so that they feel love in their lives in ways that are profound and personal. Let’s be willing to show mercy to those in need and not require some means-test from them to be considered worthy of that help. Let’s be our best selves and help others to be their best selves as well. Our society will be better for it.
Third, let’s be more tolerant and accepting of those with whom we disagree or with whom we have profound theological, political, or cultural differences. Let’s look for our similarities instead of always focusing on the differences first. Let’s be kinder to one another – in our real lives and in the digital world. Let’s have civil conversations and listen to the opinions of the others in our lives. And let’s show this to our children as the way to honor each other’s uniqueness so that the next generation learns from us. Our society will be better for it.
Fourth, let’s be a people of faith who trust each other again despite our diverse faith traditions. Let us be a people who honor the faith of others in profound and important ways while still being true to our own beliefs. Let’s be people of faith who welcome the stranger, visit the imprisoned, help the sick, bring the wounded stranger from the side of the road into a place of care, and accept that we can make a difference in the lives of others by being true to the God who love us all. Our society will be better for it.
Lastly, let’s be a people who are open to affirming the rights of others. Let us see persons of color and work to right the injustices inflicted upon them. Let us listen to the stories of injustice of the LGBT community and honor them with acceptance and greater moves toward full inclusion. Let us hear the desperation of kids in failing school systems and work to make things more just for all kids needing to be educated. Let’s see the elderly and little kids as the gifts they are and cherish them in ways that protect their safety and care for their needs. And let us make the effort to be connected to each other – not just on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest – but in real life. Let us reach out and make a difference in our world. Our society will be better for it.
Maybe we will fail at these … but isn't it worth the effort to try? And to keep on trying no matter what?
Our society will be better for it.