Depending on which book you read, I belong to the generation of Busters or the beginning of what is sometimes called Gen-X. Regardless of what you call me, I am part of a generation in the midst of transition. Some people in my age group are firmly rooted in their modern way of thinking and doing and resist change of all sorts, while others are fully engaged in the cultural changes and changing with the times in a God-honoring way. What’s the difference? Why do some embrace change while others would rather die than change? I believe some of these differences are based on personality and upbringing, but apart from that, there is a spiritual component that is critical to how we respond to change.
In the New Testament we find references to being conformed to the image of Christ, being a new creation, putting of the old and putting on the new. These are all part of the process of change. If someone rejects change in one realm, the possibility exists that they are rejecting change in other realms as well. And then there is another possibility, some put on an outward apprearance of change, but what lies beneath remains the same.
The Message proposes this idea of change in an interesting fashion in Romans 12:1-2:
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.
Some have criticized the emerging church as conforming to the culture of the world to the neglect of the truth of the gospel, but my experience is that there is a “church culture” than many faith communities have conformed to and they have neglected to be transformed to the image of Christ. I believe this is part of what the emerging church is responding to, not just the changes in culture but the need for change within the “Christian” culture.
So, I am going to begin a study of two faith communities with similar names but in different locations: Mars Hill Church led by Mark Driscoll in the Seattle Metro area and Mars Hill Bible Church led by Rob Bell in Granville, MI.
You have heard it said, do not be conformed to the world, but I say to you change the world by being transformed – yes, changed – into the image of Christ – be Jesus in your own hometown, your community, your city, your state, your country, your world.
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