19 December 2014
New year's resolutions you should actually keep
1 – Lend some sugar
Make 2015 the year you get to know one neighbour. It may be the elderly couple to your left or the young family to your right. Whoever you choose, practise friendship, hospitality and kindness, just as the Bible teaches. Talk to your neighbours. Share life with them. Share a meal with them. Share your home with them. Being lonely is so 2014.
2 – Pack your own
It's simple, really. All our Welsh readers are a step ahead, where shops now have to charge their customers for the plastic privilege – but it's time we all moved on from the carriers. Plastic bags take between 400 and 1,000 years to break down. Nearly 90 per cent of the debris in our oceans is plastic, and 100,000 turtles and other sea creatures die from discarded plastic that makes its way into our seas. So don't use them. Instead, keep a canvas alternative with you when you pop to the shops.
3 – Get political
The RSPB has more than double the members of the top three political parties combined. As Steve Holmes wrote in the last edition of idea, it is our Christian duty to engage in politics. Voting is just the first stage of that. But can we do more? Join a political party; get involved in campaigning for your chosen local candidate or even pray with your local Christian politicians. We constantly hear that there's no point in engaging with politics because we won't be heard. Well, if we go by that, it just means the voices of those who do speak will be even louder. Add yours to the conversation.
4 – Make one new friend at church
It is so easy to go to church each week and just speak to those who you know and get on with, but try and welcome a new member into your life in 2015. For some, church is quite a nerve-racking place, but a friendly face and a conversation about their week could make them feel welcomed and loved. We are called to love our neighbours, so let's start with those in our churches.
5 – Read one book a week
If you have a little time on your hands, this one is for you. One member of the Alliance advocacy team, who suggested this one, attempted this last year and called it "fun but ridiculous". I think that is a recommendation. Keep notes of the books you work through and feel smug when you put down your 52nd book this time next year. Extra points if your books are Christian.