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The Telegram
The Rev. Tim Schenck, rector of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Mass., looks for God amid domestic chaos
In Good Faith: “New Year, New You!”
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About this blog
Tim Schenck is an Episcopal priest, husband to Bryna, father to Benedict and Zachary, and \x34master\x34 to Delilah (about 50 in dog years). Since 2009 I've been the rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Mass. (on the ...
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Father Tim
Tim Schenck is an Episcopal priest, husband to Bryna, father to Benedict and Zachary, and \x34master\x34 to Delilah (about 50 in dog years). Since 2009 I've been the rector of the Episcopal Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Hingham, Mass. (on the South Shore of Boston). I've also served parishes in Maryland and New York. When I'm not tending to my parish, hanging out with my family, or writing, I can usually be found drinking good coffee -- not that drinking coffee and these other activities are mutually exclusive. I hope you'll visit my website at www.frtim.com to find out more about me, read some excerpts from my book \x34What Size are God's Shoes: Kids, Chaos & the Spiritual Life\x34 (Morehouse, 2008), and check out some recent sermons.
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1387573806_stretchCouldn’t avoid the topic of New Year’s in my latest In Good Faith column.

ďNew Year, New You!Ē

ďNew Year, New You!Ē That was the tagline on an ad for a health club I saw recently. While I already belong to a gym, I admit I paused for a moment after reading that. I mean, Iím pretty good with the ďoldĒ me but a whole ďnewĒ one? Well, thatís pretty enticing.

What would the new me look like? I guess Iíd start with the growth spurt that never really materialized in high school. 5í8Ē isnít exactly gnome-like but when your 14-year-old son looks down on you by a full three inches you could use a slight boost.

I could also use some help with the hair thatís starting to thin just a bit on the crown of my head — that would be nice. And donít even get me started on my personality. Fork over a few hilarious stories I could regale people with at cocktail parties and maybe just a few points on the old IQ? I donít need to be MENSA level but Iíd love to wow friends and family with my ability to finish the Sunday New York Times crossword puzzle in record time.

Hey, as long as this is heading in the direction of a hybrid genie/Santa, Iíll be frank. I could use some extra cash. My life would be so much better if I could trade in the family mini-van for a Hummer. And Iíve always wanted a pied-a-terre in Paris.

Itís amazing to think a health club will be able to deliver a brand new me. Whatever the monthly fee, itís surely worth it and, with my newfound wealth, I wonít even notice it.

This whole notion is, of course, ludicrous. Itís so easy to fall into the annual New Yearís trap: ďI resolve that this will be the year everything changes and I become a better, more successful, healthier, wealthier person.Ē Yet every year, by about mid-January, you realize that youíre stuck with the same old you. Sure you might give up eating ice cream every night or maybe youíve finally signed up for that ballroom dancing class youíve always talked about. But when you look in the mirror, guess what? Same old you.

This isnít meant to suck the resolve out of your resolutions. After all, New Yearís is a time brimming with opportunity and041812_obit_clarkvogel_640 expectation. Maybe itís the free-flowing champagne or the overpriced New Yearís Eve meal packages every restaurant seems to offer. Or perhaps itís those annoying noise-makers or the ghost of Dick Clark (has he actually died yet? I canít remember). But whatever the reason, the New Year feels different because it offers a fresh start, an opportunity for a new beginning, a clean break. Whatever the past has been, once that calendar switches over to January 1st, we can start anew. Right?

The problem is buying into this mentality means we view ourselves as essentially flawed. We forget that we have been created in Godís image and that God loves us for who we are — blemishes and all. Sure, weíre all works in progress; human beings always are. But God loves the unfinished product. God loves the striving we do to live into our full potential as creatures of God.

So forget about the idea of an entirely ďnew you.Ē Itís important to remember weíre not trying to hide from the past but rather building upon it. The past, for better or worse, is a large part of who we are in the present. But we stand, with Godís help, ready to move on and to grow in new and exciting ways. Each day we are offered time with God, time with friends, and time with family. By treating each day with the spirit of New Yearís we can recapture the sense of excitement and wonder that comes from time spent in this holy and fruitful way.

Oh, and I just Googled it: Dick Clark died in April, 2012, in case you were wondering. In any case, Happy New Year!

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