While I am a little skeptical about the wisdom or efficacy of new year’s resolutions, I am a fan of what seems to be a new trend for setting new year’s intentions. Though not technically all that different than a resolution, an intention is set around a positive vision, rather than addressing a problem. Also, an intention allows for more grace and less guilt, as it isn’t so much about an absolute accomplishment than it is the orientation towards that goal. And finally, an intention invites more continuous choice – you have to keep setting it, keep putting it before yourself – in order for it to be your intention.
A few of my own intentions for the coming year include:
- I will settle more fully into my home and this community – getting to know the local clergy and their congregations, better understanding our history, and our emerging future. Also, I want to hang pictures on my walls, know my neighbors’ names, and feel a part of Fort Collins beyond Foothills.
- I will take time for study, rest, and reflection both on the past few years, as well as the years ahead.
- I will work with my colleagues to share more of the foundations of Unitarian Universalism with our community, and then work with you all to live out these foundations in our wider community. (Look for the series called “Foundations” in the soon-to-be-published Adult Ed catalogue – starts Jan 27th and runs 2nd and 4th Wednesdays through June.)
- I will keep my heart open to the heartbreak in my own life, and in the the larger world – especially so present on this day after the non-indictment for Tamir Rice – without getting overwhelmed, overly analytical, or feeling like I have to solve it all, and without getting caught in despair or cynicism. I will remain engaged with the work for justice, acts of love, and keep doing what I can in my own community, and in my own life in small and every day ways, to keep the story of hope alive.
This last one is not just an intention; it’s a faith statement – a core orientation of our Unitarian Universalist faith.
In the coming months, our congregation will delve seriously into conversations and decisions around both our mission, as well as our organizational structure and governance – as well as clarify our hopes for and hire a new assistant minister. I hope everyone in our community will engage fully with these conversations, as they will directly relate to the intentions we set not just this year, but far beyond.
Sometimes we fail to recognize the importance of our liberal religious congregations, or we think of our communities as simply refuges for us escape to with our “like-minded” friends. However, in our world today we do not have that luxury. The world needs our voice and our influence; our world needs faith communities that claim a religious and moral voice and who are willing to lead with an intention of radical inclusivity, relentless compassion, and courageous love. It needs us to keep alive these practices in our own hearts, and then embody these practices in our wider community, to be a part of a northern Colorado coalition of courageous and transforming love.
And so my hope is that in our mission and organizational work, we will set ambitious intentions for our congregation. I hope we believe in the power of our faith and our witness more than we have ever dared believe before – and that rather than imagining ourselves on the sidelines of today’s big questions, we are in the center, transforming ourselves, and transforming the world.