Three Taverns Church

New Year’s Questions


My friends at Collective Church asked some great questions this Sunday to help their members prepare for 2015. Check out their blog and the list of questions here.

These are some very crafty, creative questions, the kinds of things you ask yourself in 12-step programs. If answered honestly, and not with intellectually stimulating or theologically trendy responses, these questions have the power to help resolve your past and prepare you for your future.

The power of these questions comes from their requirement that you try to acknowledge what is, rather than get you hoping for what you wish was or will be. Accepting what is does not mean you condone anything, nor does it mean you condemn anything. You simply acknowledge reality as much as you are capable.

The question that isn’t listed on Collective’s page (but was discussed during the service) centered on New Year’s resolutions and goal setting, and that’s what I want to talk about tonight.

I think New Year’s resolutions are worthless, and I think if you’ve got one you are refusing to accept responsibility for your life. Resolutions are about as real as Hallmark holidays, the likes of  which are equally popular and equally worthless. You can talk all you want about some people needing a catalyst for change, but I say that if you’re fat and you really wanted to lose weight, you’d already have replaced the food in your fridge and started going to the gym. If you really wanted to quit drinking, or smoking, or whatever your vice is, you’d already have joined a support group, bought the reading material, and started the hard work.

If you were really serious about making changes in your life you’d realize that the whole idea of resolutions is illogical because change necessarily involves failure, and failure is the ultimate resolution buzzkill. The first time you eat fast food, miss the gym, light up, or pour a cold one, you throw out your resolution to “change” and say to yourself, “Well, there’s always next year.” The hard truth is that you’re probably just too damn lazy to change and not honest enough to admit it to yourself. You think you’re supposed to want to lose weight, so you put on a big show, tell your friends, and blab all over Facebook about your new gym membership. But the truth is you enjoy eating crap, you hate exercising, and you’re willing to remain blissfully ignorant of the future health disaster heading your way.

I suspect that if you read through the questions from Collective linked above and were really honest with yourself, you’d see the truth of what I’m saying. And staring in the face of the truth that you’re too foolish to change, you might actually begin to change on the inside, which is far more valuable than any resolution you could complete.

3 thoughts on “New Year’s Questions

  1. Love it! This feels very PeterRollins. At first read it feels kida dark, defeating and a fatalistic, but the idea that we will use these divices – religion, resolutions, goals, etc – as release valves that actually insulate us from the very thing we swear we want to change, this is the self-sabotage of disconnecting our sense of self from responsibility for ourslef. To your point, this allows all of our hopes and desires to remain in the comofrtable distant realms of what was was or will be, rather than the traumatic now. Keep this stuff up.

    • Thank you. After publishing the post I thought more about the last paragraph, and I think there is something very profound in there: Failure is necessary to change. I need to sit with that a while.

  2. I agree, Stephen. Most of us try to avoid failure at all costs–and sometimes the cost is that we don’t/can’t change. One more profound jump, to say that failure is NECESSARY to change.

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