Don and I

Everyone who paid attention to my last blog on nonconformity should read Don Blosser’s comment. I spent some night time pondering the difference between Don and me. It seems to me that I am describing the beginning of transformation and he is experiencing the ultimate transformation possible.

transformedAllow me to rely on the metaphors suggested by the use of the word meta-morphosis (transformation) in Romans 12:2.  What I describe are stages in transformation. Deeper in the metaphor I note that eggs hatch into larvae (worms) exposed to all the dangers of being tiny, soft and often crippled or crushed by the world surrounding them.

Forgive me if I see more than I should in the metaphor, for I am about to suggest that large masses of people around our world are unaware of the negative pressures that squeeze them into shapes imposed on them by their world’s culture. Though the metaphor portrays them as larvae, worms they are not.

squeezedRomans 12:2:  “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed” was not written to worms, but to human beings with minds that are able to make choices even though they are presently being squeezed into shapes dictated by their world. They can be made aware of the mysterious mercies that gave them life. They can resist the pressures that are squeezing them to death, and be transformed into new life. That is the truth of this verse and the metaphor embedded in it.

Remember my list of pressures in the last post:  1) we all need a gun for safety’s sake, 3) greed is essential to prosperity, 3) big government is an enemy of small business, and 4) public services should be privatized. I hoped that you moved to add to my list, or to scrap my list and make one of your own

I belabored the beginning of the transformation process.  And Don Blosser, blessed be he and his ministry, is living and teaching in the freedom found only at the end of the process.  I will likely have more to say about his comment in my next post.

Right now I feel compelled to call attention to the “but” in the middle of Romans 12:2. “But” is a powerful little word that discounts everything before it like “be not conformed to this world” and illuminates and empowers everything that follows it like “be transformed.”

butI like the big little word but I read it with care and try to limit its use in my own writing. I wish to use it only when it  is essential to clarity. When I read Don’s comment I saw one big BUT at the beginning.  The but belonged there, and was appropriate. In my next post I will try to dwell on the means of transformation.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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2 Responses to Don and I

  1. Donald Blosser says:

    you are as right on target as you could possibly be—I think the thing that strikes me most often is the number of adult people (who have not been worms EVER in their minds) keep, even as adults fussing about avoiding the world and its pressures. I am thinking as an athlete—the best defense is a good offense. As a committed follower of Jesus, I should be picking up my cues for living from Jesus and his message. That means I am alert to the world, and I know what is going on out there, but I am not checking every nuance of the world’s thinking so that I can determine how to react this time to that evil empire’s latest attempts of pervasive control and dominance in my thinking. I bump into far too many devout Christian people (really good people) who define their goodness by how consistently they non-conform to the world—thus much of their identity is shaped by reaction or objection to the negative input of the dominant empire. I would much rather be identified as a follower of Jesus, and then let the world think I am a fool if that is how they see it.
    I still think you and I make really good fellow travelers on the journey of faith.

  2. Sam Troyer says:

    I appreciate you both as good brothers; I remember well President J. Lawrence Burkholders sermon when I graduated from college in 1974 about being “non- conformed to the world,” where he stressed the inner values of what non-conformity versus conformity to Christ implies; this underscored GC’s values of culture for service. We live in a world for fear and paranoia, I refuse to live that way. I recall Art Gish saying at CMC if Jesus could say anything to us today it would be. “Do not be afraid, and trust loving your enemy.”

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