New Year’s Day is a day for resolutions, often taking the form of freeing ourselves from slavery to addictions, obsessions, and other bad habits. This yearly renewal — through promises to be stronger, healthier, and wiser — celebrates one of the cornerstones of Reform Unitarianism: commitment of character.
AUR strives not to promote false salvation, moral justification, and consolation on the cheap, whether it is the sort of “bow to dogma and your soul will be spared” comfort of many conservative churches or the “I’m okay, you’re okay, nothing we believe really matters” comfort of many liberal churches.
Spiritual peace and strength are not won by reciting a confession or catechism as if they were magic spells, or by impulsively tossing your life over to God like a hot potato, abdicating all responsibility for past wrong-doing.
Nor is spiritual peace achieved through conflict-averse relativism or laissez-faire creedlessness, what Unitarian theologian James Luther Adams described unflatteringly as “religion you can’t flunk.”
Peace, strength, and freedom are achieved only through a resolute struggle, by committing one’s character to moral growth and accepting a higher Good beyond one’s desires and instincts. New Year’s Day, what we call Resolution Day, provides a unique opportunity to stamp these commitments into our memory at the turning of the calendar.