Do Not Be Conformed: Talk Radio and Spiritual Formation

Do Not Be Conformed: Talk Radio and Spiritual Formation March 17, 2017

What we meditate on will spiritually form us.

A regular diet of angry, truth-stretching commentators will begin to affect us. Some of those old adages are indeed true; like this one: garbage in, garbage out. As Jesus said,

“No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”–Luke 6:43-45 NIV

Maybe all of us could begin to ask ourselves, Does this commentator help me cultivate the mind of Christ? How does Christ (not my favorite angry blogger) look at this world? How does he look at the people this show host is ranting against? What does he call me to? Maybe we could begin to seek out more voices that will help us cultivate the mind of Christ, that will help us be transformed by the renewing of our minds:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform 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.–Romans 12:1-2 NIV

Anger, vitriol, self-seeking, comfort, a callous heart toward neighbors … these are part of the “pattern of this world.” It doesn’t matter if your favorite Christian leader loves those who speak this way too. It doesn’t matter if your favorite commentator throws in some “God bless America” to try to keep you listening. Mixing of some truth in with the evil attitudes is part of how Satan deceives us, and part of how the world gets a stronger foothold in our hearts and minds.

A Christian is called to “be transformed by the renewing” of our minds. Here’s the good news: “be transformed” is a passive imperative. It can seem overwhelming to resist the mindset of the world, especially when so many of our fellow Christians have been captured by it. But this passage is telling us that it is God’s job to transform us. We are called to repent and turn from the world (“Do not conform”), but when we do, God is present to do the job of transforming us as we present our bodies to him as “living sacrifices.”

My prayer is that God will help me resist the strong temptation to be conformed to this world, even when the world is present in other Christians and I feel pressure to succumb in order to be accepted. And that God will transform me by the renewing of my mind. And my prayer is that my fellow Christians will be able to lay down the worldly diet they have been subsisting on and experience transformation of their minds too.

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Community discussion guidelines:

Because this is a Christian blog, the things I’m talking about will obviously be topics that people feel strongly about in one direction or another. Please keep in mind that this is a place for substantive, respectful, constructive conversation. All perspectives are welcome to discuss here as long as all can treat each other with kindness and respect. Please ignore trolls, refuse to engage in personal attacks, try not to derail the conversation into divisive rabbit trails, and observe the comment policy listed on the right side of the page. Comments that violate these guidelines may be deleted. Vulgar remarks may result in immediate blacklisting. For those who clearly violate these policies repeatedly, my policy is to issue a warning which, if not regarded, may lead to blacklisting. This is not about censorship, but about creating a healthy, respectful environment for discussion.

P.S. Please also note that I am not a scientist, but a person with expertise in theology and the arts. While I am very interested in the relationship between science and faith, I do not believe I personally will be able to adequately address the many questions that inevitably come up related to science and religion. I encourage you to seek out the writings of theistic or Christian scientists to help with those discussions.

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photo credit: CJS*64 Thinking about tomorrow ! via photopin (license)


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