The Ten Amendments — Jim Burklo, USA

Exodus 20:1-17

Jim writes…

‘The ten commandments endure as a foundation for morality, after thousands of years. But just like other guiding/governing documents, from time to time we need to add amendments to them. The ten commandments are a short list, and that is a very good thing. They mostly tell us what not to do, giving us the freedom to do most everything else.

‘But not everything else is so wonderful. In every time, in every life, we need to make additional lists for spiritual and moral guidance. Things we need to do, or to avoid, to amend our lives and mend our relationships.

‘Here I offer a list of such amendments. They are my own ethical ‘marching orders’:

1. Thou shalt be amazed by the good in people.
2. Thou shalt avoid judgment of others.
3. Thou shalt not injure others with sarcasm.
4. Thou shalt not jump to conclusions.
5. Thou shalt attend to details in serving others.
6. Thou shalt make realistic promises and keep them.
7. Thou shalt have clear priorities for thy time and attention, for thy body, mind, and heart, and thou shalt act on these priorities.
8. Thou shalt wait 24 hours before doing or saying anything negative about another person.
9. Thou shalt not say ‘yes’ when thou meanest ‘no’.
10. Thou shalt ask before acting.

Each one of these amendments reflects my own failure to follow it! The list reflects the ways my life needs to change for the better, in outward actions and inward intentions….

What’s your list of ‘ten amendments’?

Jim Burklo, Associate Dean of Religious Life at the University of Southern California, writes progressive prayers, hymns and other worship items.  Many of his liturgical materials can be found in his book Birdlike and Barnless:  Meditations, Prayers, and Songs for Progressive Christians  (2008, St Johann Press).  Explore Jim’s blog for more words for worship.