“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. 2 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—God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12: 1-2
This blog is an in-depth exploration of five themes which flow from this passage.
- What does it mean, and tangibly look like, to offer our bodies as living sacrifices that are holy and pleasing to God
- This passage describes true and proper worship; how is our worship accessed in light of this?
- How have we been conformed to the pattern of this world, both consciously and unconsciously?
- How do we move from conforming to the pattern of this world, to being transformed by the renewing of our minds, and ultimately becoming new creations? (How do we partner with the Spirit’s work on, in, and through us in these regards?)
- How is our comprehension of God’s will frequently clouded by our own darkened and confused minds (Romans 1:21)?
These five themes will serve as the thread binding my reflections. They undergird my musings even when my utterances aren’t explicitly focused on a biblical text. The telos of this blog is to inspire change and help connect the dots. For far too many people, especially evangelical Christians, the importance of key concepts like intersectionality, solidarity, and even intertextuality are forsaken, overlooked, or disregarded as nonessential. I hope to help prove otherwise!
Principally, I chose to anchor my thoughts in this passage because of its essential nature in our understanding of Christianity; but also I selected it because I believe we have done ourselves a disservice in our interpretations of it and its inherent themes. For example, we all know that we live within a world marred by sin but many of us have not been taught to connect this truth to how that sin is made manifest in our world today; particularly in the form of injustice and isms which are individually, institutionally, and systemically articulated. This passage summons us to develop eyes to see and ears to hear God’s desire us for our lives and how we are to embody our faith, as well as bear witness to the Kingdom as God’s ambassadors of reconciliation in the world today.
Wrestling with the text in this manner raises a few questions, which will also inform my writing. How does the fact that we live within a world—and particularly a nation—where bodies are ascribed value along a continuum; certain bodies (male, white, abled bodies) which have been historically acclaimed, while other bodies (female, people of color, disabled bodies) have been globally defamed, factor into our comprehension and interpretation of this and other texts? How do we account for the particularities of our bodies and our social location in the world within our theological reflection? And finally, how is theology and biblical interpretation connected to the deadly pattern of this word?