Like Christ

In getting ready for the Conference, I finished writing my Episcopal address and find pieces left over. I always feel a bit like Marco Polo who is reported to have said on his death bed, "But I haven't told a half of what I've seen." Here are quotes I want to offer that lie unused on the cutting floor of my manuscript. One is from one of my favorite church leaders, John Stott: "In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus spoke of the hypocrites and the pagans and added: “Do not be like them” (Matt. 6:8). Another, the apostle Paul could write to the Romans: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed” (Rom. 12:2). Here then is God’s call to a radical discipleship, to a radical nonconformism, to the surrounding culture. It is a call to develop a Christian counterculture. The followers of Jesus, for example, are not to give in to pluralism, which denies the uniqueness and lordship of Jesus, nor be sucked into materialism or become led astray into ethical relativism, which says there are no moral absolutes. This is God’s call to his people to be different. We are not to be like reeds shaken by the wind, as Jesus said, but to be like rocks in a mountain stream; not to be like fish floating with the stream, but to swim again the stream – even the cultural mainstream. We are faced, in fact, with two cultures, two value systems, two standards and two lifestyles. Which shall we choose? If we are not to be like chameleons, changing color to suit our surroundings, what are we to be like? The answer is that we are to be like Christ. The eternal and ultimate purpose of God by his Spirit is to make us like Christ." (by John Stott taken from UnChristian by David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons pgs. 151-152)