by Brian Walsh
Dr. King once said that Christians are too often like thermometers, registering and reflecting the temperature all around them, when in fact we are called to thermostats, influencing and changing the spiritual, moral, and cultural atmosphere of the society in which we live.
Kind of sounds like the distinction between being “conformed to this world” or being “transformed by the renewing of our minds” that Paul’s talking about in Romans 12:
“I appeal to you, therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.”
And in our ministry we are unabashedly all about transformation. But we also stand with Paul (and King) by insisting that transformed “minds” without bodies presented as living sacrifices is a pious intellectualism that doesn’t really amount to very much. No, the whole point of a transformed mind is that we might be discerning people, perceiving in the midst of our day to day personal and professional lives what embodied discipleship looks like.
There is no mind/body dualism for Paul. And there is no possibility of separating worship from this whole matter of transformed minds and sacrificial bodies either. Whole-bodied, mind-transformed, non-conformist living is precisely what worship is all about. Indeed, this way of living is worship!