Blog: Max Dawson
January 11, 2016
The above title is the longest I have ever used in these little messages. But all three elements in the title are important to this morning’s thoughts.
I saw the new Star Wars movie a few days ago. The five dollars (each–cheap!) it cost for Lee and me to see it helped put its worldwide gross over the $1.7 billion mark. The good guys (underdogs) in the movie triumph against overwhelming odds. They saved the universe! Breathe a sigh of relief! Interesting that–unless you count The Force–they did this without any need for God. But hey, the movie is sci-fi fantasy, and we live in a free country. The producers can do as they please.
Another cultural phenomenon without much need for God is the PBS series Downton Abbey. It just opened its sixth season. Viewers have wondered why there is almost no reference to God in a series that is set in the early part of the twentieth century. The story begins at the time of the sinking of the Titanic–April 1912. In that time the English were a decidedly religious lot. And while the residents of Downton Abbey go to church on Sunday and give thanks for their meals, they pretty much live their lives without much involvement with God. God is just another formality of their privileged lives. But, like us, the British are somewhat free as a people. They can produce what they please.
What about Americans of the twenty-first century? Like those of that PBS story from a hundred years ago, modern Americans may go to church–but leave God out of the challenges and decisions of life. While Americans are still the most church-going people of any major country in the world, is our religion reflected in how we live? Are we living lives without the need for God? What are our lives really about as we are now almost two weeks into 2016? Did you make any resolutions for this New Year? Was God included in those resolutions? How are you doing so far?
A Money Magazine article lists the top six resolutions Americans made for 2016. ( To be fair, we note that about a third of those surveyed chose none of these six. (Maybe that offers some hope for America.) But here are the six in order as the most popular.

1. “Enjoy life to the fullest.”
2. “Live a healthier lifestyle.”
3. “Lose weight.”
4. “Save more, spend less.”
5. “Spend more time with family and friends.”
6. “Pay down debt.”

Looking at the stats on the survey, a lot of these are Baby Boomers and Seniors–folks who traditionally go to church. What is missing from the list? There is not much there about God!
What is important to your life as you are now in the New Year? Are you a “go to church, but leave God out of the rest of your life” person? I hope not.


Maybe it is not too late to make some good resolutions for 2016. You probably only need two. They will cover almost everything. You will find that the second one is a lot like the first.
1. Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
Resolutions are about getting our priorities straight. Jesus tells us how to do it in Matthew 22:37-39.

Blessings to you and yours in this New Year.
(A word of thanks to Jim Denison for his thoughts on today’s topic.)