If you're feeling spiritually flabby and want to get back into shape with God, here are some New Year's resolutions from Orange County religious leaders to inspire you.
P.S.: A special thanks to those whose new year isn't the Christian new year but got into the millennium spirit just the same.
I have two simple resolutions for the new year.
The first is from Philo of Alexandria: "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle." We imagine that there are those who have an easy life and those who have a tough life, but the difference is really between those who know how tough life is and those who don't yet. The first group needs my comforting solidarity and the second needs my kindness to give them courage to see things as they really are. The second resolution is to set aside time to read really good, enlightening books. I look back at the last century and notice, besides great accomplishments, murderous rages led by torturers, dictators, fanatics, and demagogues who already knew what the world needed and who believed without doubt whatever they knew was enough for them once and for all. Only by listening carefully to those wiser than ourselves can we hope to turn the tide away from terror in the next century.
FATHER MIKE HEHER
Saint Irenaeus Church
Making resolutions right after [the Muslim holy month of] Ramadan is good timing. That's when people are spiritually charged. I'd like to spend more time with my family and more time learning and reciting the Koran. We end up missing a lot because of the busy schedule we have in this country. I'll also try to be more active in terms of educating others as to who we are as Muslims. There's much misunderstanding.
Council on American-Islamic Relations
A question is asked concerning Adam: Why didn't God give the first man all the commandments of the Bible right away? Why did he wait until Moses? The answer: Adam couldn't even keep the one commandment he had received, let alone hundreds more!
My resolution is to try to remember the resolutions I made during the Jewish New Year celebration of this past September. Once I recall them, I will again be reminded how easily commitments rise to our lips in our higher moments but fall to our feet as we walk through the more mundane times. What happened to those pious resolves of the High Holy Days now that October, November and December have intervened?
My resolution, therefore, is not to make another resolution until I fulfill the ones already made. It's more than enough to deal with those!
RABBI MARK MILLER
Temple Bat Yahm
Less red meat; more spiritual food. Finish taxes by April 15; read entire Bible by Dec. 31. Get seven hours of sleep a night; keep people from sleeping while I preach. Do God's work and have good time!
SENIOR PASTOR KEVIN HAYASHIDA
Crossroads Community Church
I resolve to focus less on my problems and more on God's purpose for my life; focus less on religion, rules and rituals and more on growing my relationship with Christ; I resolve to tell as many people as I can in 2000 about God's love, forgiveness, grace, strength, peace and purpose that Jesus offers to anyone who will accept it.
SENIOR PASTOR RICK WARREN
My daily prayer works as a New Year's resolution--it's something that I work toward every day. To see the child of God in everyone everywhere. For myself, I try to express it--the nature of God--as well as seeing it in others.
MARY ANN KROPP
Christian Science practitioner
We look forward to the new millennium that will bring a new era of racial harmony and unity. We don't have any specific resolutions other than working toward racial harmony and unity. We don't normally call them resolutions, but it's something we do continually.
Local Spiritual Assembly
Baha'i Faith of Laguna Niguel
As we move into the year 2000, I have considered the following changes good for soul, mind, and body. For the soul, more time to pray. I love to talk about prayer, but after a few minutes on the knees, I know why I need a knee replacement. For the mind, more time to read. I encourage people to read the Bible, and I need to be a good example, but with these new bifocals, I am going to the Bible on audiotape. For the body, more physical exercise. I am putting down the remote control and walking around the block. Of course, I will stop later for some fresh cookies at the bakery.
REV. STEVE BLANKENSHIP
Santa Ana Free Methodist Church
To finally get the baptistery to stop leaking once and for all. Method: Remind the deacons that more baptisms mean shorter sermons!
SENIOR PASTOR ROBB RING
East Anaheim Christian Church
Spiritual food is available in abundance if one reads, understands and then follows any Holy Scripture and also joins holy congregations. Guru Nanak says: "One who earns his bread by honest means and shares the same with the needy is truly religious." We have to remember this every moment of every day.
Sikh Temple of Orange County