“I want to be different” Romans 12:1-2
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy. To offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test, and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing, and perfect will.”
“Do not conform.” Have you ever seen the picture of the boy with the mohawk and tattoos surrounded by a sea of boys who look the same with the caption “I am my own person” or “Because I am different?” Social norms are strong influences in our lives. Even the rebel without a cause can become a strong social norm. Before you know it, everyone is a rebel without a cause, or stands in protest against the police, or grows their hair long, gets a perm, almost everything.
50 years ago, social pressures drove people into church. Churches were filled with post war boomers. The norm today is no church. I would say no God, but I am not certain that is so. Conforming today means we become about as ethical as our society. We change our schedules and our behaviors to match society so we can fit. Our social ethics have changed dramatically since my parents had little children. Sexual norms, living status, economic changes, political upheaval have all changed our social ethics dramatically. And this transformation is quickened by the media who drives change because different makes the story and the story makes the money.
I wonder what in our society God would say is unethical. What are the things to which He would say, “no?” He said no to the Pharisees a lot because they used people for their own political and financial end. That would be the same today. He said no to Peter who wanted to storm the Roman Empire and take control. That would be the same today. He said no to the disciples who wanted to continue the parade and ignore the blind man. He said no to the rich man who was storing treasures for tomorrow and refused to share and trust for the present. I am thinking maybe Jesus would not really change his message all that much. His yes and no are still the same today as they were when he spoke them.