Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Prayer for Living

Over the past few weeks I have been teaching on ways to implement the very important principles found in Romans 12:2.

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.

These simple words summarize much of what I have learned that works in the Christian life as well as pastoral care and counsel. Think for a moment about not following St. Paul's admonition. Suppose he said, "Please, friends, continue to do what the rest of the world wants you to do. Don't change your ideas or actions even though they are leading to chaos, confusion and dissipation and is obviously contrary to God's will."

Any culture in which we live invades our thinking and feelings constantly, silently and completely. As Will Rogers said upon his return from Paris: "Those Parisian kids are the smartest I have ever seen. Every one of them spoke a foreign language. French."

Not only does everyone living in a French speaking country speak that language, they also think in French and think and act like the culture thinks and acts. Americans are conformed to our culture in ways that are uniquely ours.

But, are these cultural values always Christian in orientation? The answer is a resounding "NO!" Greed, rampant individualism, sexual obsession, abortion and aggression are not biblical values. When St. Paul wrote to the Believers in Rome he knew well that the culture there was anything but Christian so he exhorted them to work at renewing their minds. Only then would they be able to live like Christ and love one another.