Created to Be Different
Reading this great little book by Marva Dawn called "In the Beginning, God." Her thought is that the account of creation in Genesis wasn't to create scientific debates about the where or when, but to point to God Himself - the WHO - and cause us to understand that He deserves worship when we look at Creation around us.
What really caught me were her thoughts about Christian community, or the gathered group of people who follow Jesus, and what we're supposed to be doing in the world. Here is one that floored me:
"We invite everyone to delight in noncomformity, to rejoice in the Spirit's transforming work in our lives. We begin to train our children with worship and hearing the Scriptures when they are very little, for we long for them from the earliest time possible to discover the goodness of God's design, the truth of God's instructions, and the Joy of following them - not as duty, but as glad response to God's profoundly loving revelation and invitation, the Trinity's mercy and grace." (p. 28-29; emphasis mine)
Wow. I know that's a heavy quote, but the idea that we should "delight in nonconformity" is something that churches debate heavily. Should we look like the world around us or not? What can we borrow and use and what should we fight against? What about being "in the world, but not of the world" (John 17:14 & 16)? The biggest knock against the church is that we're more known for what we're "against" than what we're "for", which I think is a tremendous tragedy.
What does it mean to delight in nonconformity?
I think it's more than just not watching certain television programs, voting for certain candidates or political positions, or saying certain "unacceptable" words.
We should delight in forgiving when the whole world says "go for the throat."
We should delight in giving things away when the whole world says "get more and newer."
We should delight in blessing people who have hurt us significantly.
We should delight in hanging out with people who don't improve our own social standing or reputation. (like Jesus did?)
I agree with Marva Dawn here, if we live the things I've listed above as acts of worship to the God who created all people, then we'll have much less time and energy to argue the literal seven day creation argument, etc.
Isn't it true that nonconformity to the world looks less like believing in scientific proofs for God and more like believing in the Creator God himself?
There's more in this quote, but I just got struck by the "nonconformity."