Monday, March 05, 2012

The Twelve Traditions of AA as applied to the Church

I've been thinking... What if the church at large adopted the Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, albeit in a slightly modified form?

Here are the Twelve Traditions of AA:

One—Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
Two—For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Three—The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Four—Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
Five—Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Six—An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
Seven—Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
Eight—Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
Nine—A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Ten—Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
Eleven—Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
Twelve—Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Here is my attempt at a version applied to the church:

The (proposed) Twelve Traditions of the Church


One—Our common welfare should come first; personal spiritual growth depends upon unity.
Two—For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
Three—The only requirement for church membership is an earnest desire to know God.
Four—Each church should be autonomous except in matters affecting other affiliated churches or Christianity as a whole.
Five—Each church has but one primary purpose—to carry the message of God's love to a world that is suffering.
Six—A church ought never endorse, finance or lend the name of Jesus to any business enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige besmirch His name and divert us from our primary purpose.
Seven—Every church ought to be fully self-supported by its members, declining involvement in outside business enterprises.
Eight—The Body of Christ should remain forever nonprofessional, but our churches may employ special workers.
Nine—The church, as such, ought never be too organized or hierarchical; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
Ten—The church ought to transcend partisan politics. If we are drawn into public controversy, let it be for speaking truth to power and standing in support of justice to the poor, oppressed, marginalized and excluded.
Eleven—Our public relations policy is based on attraction to Christ rather than promotion of personalities or partisan political agendas; we ought to seek to share the Good News of God's love.
Twelve—Anonymity (dying to self) is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

If you were apply the Twelve Traditions to the church, how would you do it?

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love the idea. I have visited 12 step groups and they are always welcoming and not judgemental. They embody the verse 1Peter, 4:8 (I think!) Above all, love one another....
Penny

3:17 PM  
Blogger Ember said...

Interesting. I have a friend who blogs about this, here: http://12stepstochurch.blogspot.com/

6:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"anonymity" is not "dying to self." There's more to it than that. Can you name the third member of AA? That is anonymity. It's also a practical "at the public level" tradition. There are no Rob Bells or Pat Robertsons in AA. there is a LOT more to AA than self support and trusted servants.

6:25 AM  
Blogger Danny Coleman said...

You are absolutely right, my friend. There is a whole lot more. I hope my very imperfect attempt at pointing out potential ways the church could benefit from adapting the 12 Traditions did not cause offense.

7:25 AM  
Anonymous Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Our community has been going through this same process- translating the 12 traditions into church values. Interesting to see others looking at it too.

11:53 AM  

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