Culture – challenge – change – conform
One of the things that I ask audiences who say that they are Christians is, if you are one have you changed and what methodology do you think, you or God uses to change you.
I get lots of answers usually things like:
- · The Bible
- · Prayer
- · The Holy Spirit
- · Meeting with other Christians
- · Love
- · And others sometime a bit more obscure
Of course all of those things have a bearing on change, if change is necessary, however that is not actually how we change. In fact the funny thing is that the Bible does tell us what the method of change is, and more than that it tells us how to maintain and continue with the relevant and vital changes that are needed to become a new kind of person. The Book of Romans starts us off…12:2 Don’t be conformed to this world (allow the world to squeeze you into its mould), but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what is the good, well-pleasing, and perfect will of God.
Thinking is what changes us, what we think. So often we don’t, think that is. When I was a teenager I used to hang out in what was euphemistically called coffee bars, the place where young people could legitimately go. You went there before you went out, and came back there after you had been out, if you see what I mean. It was the place you met your date before you went on the date… Bit more like a house front room with frothy coffee and the very required juke box.
One of the things I noticed is, and that hasn’t changed much in 50 years is that the music had to be very, very loud. In fact so loud that you couldn’t think, I asked a few of my friends back then why they like the music so loud? Most of them answered the same, well they said “It saves me from having to think”!
The trouble is there are many times that we think we are thinking but we are not; rather I would say we are conforming. We conform to our culture our peers, those we feel we need to impress, be the same as, want them to like us, feel part of the crowd, and be accepted. All of those things going on inside of us but often without much thought.
I have been to a lot of parties of late, most of which I have to say not my age group, but even when occasionally it was my age group I note the attempt to conform to the group is very strong. Our cultures, that we don’t think about puts us into a box where we act, do, be, just like everyone else but without much thinking.
Let’s be honest it’s hard to change culture, not that we shouldn’t try particularly when culture has it wrong, which often it has. When you change your thinking you can change your behavior, but changing others thinking is not that easy, even if your thinking is right and their’s is wrong. Think about Ignaz Semmelweiss, don’t know him, well in 1847 he discovered that if doctors washed their hands before attending women in childbirth it dramatically reduced deaths from puerperal fever. His views were ridiculed and eventually drove him insane – not that he was wrong but it took some 15 years for Pasteur and Lister to develop their germ theory of disease which explained why Semmelweiss was right.
Going back to those parties, why is it that we have to have so much Alcohol, so much ‘same’ music, so much ‘same dress style’ so much conformity. Are we thinking or just culturally conforming, and if we are just peer pressure conforming, are we right to do so? Are we that different to my coffee bar era, ‘well it saves me from having to think?’
To quote Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett in ‘The Spirit level’ they said, It is a remarkable paradox that, at the pinnacle of human material and technical achievement, we find ourselves anxiety-ridden, prone to depression, worried about how others see us, unsure of our friendships, driven to consume and with little or no community life. Lacking the relaxed social contact and emotional satisfaction we all need we seek comfort in over-eating, obsessive shopping and spending, or becoming prey to excessive alcohol, psychoactive medicines and illegal drugs.
So why am I going on. Well because I want to provoke you to THINK! Think what about?
- · Why are you here in this world?
- · What is it that needs changing?
- · What is it that you could do to effect change?
- · Why are you just being one of the crowd?
- · Where are you going anyway?
- · When are you going to do something constructive?
Sometime the problem starts by what you think about yourself, again to quote the Bible it says in Proverbs 23:7 Paraphrasing “as you think in your heart so you are” So what do you think about you, are you insecure, unsure, do you think of yourself as not so good. Well to start with that would need to change if you are to tackle the thinking above. And of course it can and should change.
What should you be doing? Shouldn’t you be the person to change things, by first of all changing your own thinking? Why be a ‘samee’ why not be a change agent? You could be a world changer, but first you probably have to change, personally I do that by firstly becoming a follower of Jesus, then trying hard to ‘not conform’ and putting on the mind of Christ, thinking about good things rather than bad, in fact seeking to renew my mind. Not got there yet, but trying and on the way.
How about you, wouldn’t you rather be here to change things rather than just be one of the crowd? Think about it! There’s a challenge!
Edited by Technicolour Text