Romans 12:1-2 (MSG)
So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out.
So earlier this year, MIT Technology Review magazine ran a story about why all hipsters look the same, calling it “the hipster effect.” The idea behind the story is that the people who say they oppose mainstream culture…well, they are all kind of looking the same, which is the definition of mainstream. Irony.
Anyways, the guy on the cover picture of the article got a lawyer and threatened to sue the magazine for using his image without permission and “slandering” him by labeling him a hipster. There was only one problem, though.
The picture wasn’t actually him.
It was a stock image of a model that had full usage permission. The reader was angry that his picture was used to prove that all hipsters look alike… but then he realizes the image isn’t him.
You can’t make this stuff up.
As disciples of Jesus, I wonder if we tend to think that we’re more different from the world around us than we actually are.
What does it mean to truly be different in the world? Nobody likes to be categorized. We all fall into categories (fairly or not) that we don’t appreciate being put into. It takes the combination of intention, action, and grace to be an alternative to the way the world works. Otherwise we just blend in in all the wrong ways. So our constant question… how can we surprise the world by actually being different in the ways that Jesus was different?
We love thinking we’re different. But it’s got to go beyond thinking.
We want to be generous, but often our consumption habits are highly materialistic.
We want to be loving, but our vindictive words about those people in the other political party sound just like what everyone else says.
We want to practice deep community with other people, but we’ve got a million reasons why it just can’t happen in this season of life.
We want to have deep connection with God, but we often fail to take any time to be grounded in prayer and scripture. And therefore, when stress and crises come, we respond no differently than anyone else.
The general consensus in our country is that most Christians aren’t particularly different than anyone else, except that they tend to be a bit more judgmental and uptight than most.
That’s the difference that people see???? Mayday!!!
This is not about guilt tripping or feeling bad about ourselves. It’s about realizing that we have truly good news available to us, and if it takes root, it will lead to a completely different way of being- that’s all encompassing, forever. The more we are immersed in Jesus, the more our way of existing in the world will be unique and beautiful.
So let’s move beyond "mister hipster’s" complaint about being tagged as the same as everyone. Let’s actually be noticeably different.
The good news is that Jesus is renewing us daily, giving us new insight, fresh strength, and new creativity about how to live in a way that awakens ourselves and our world to the goodness of life with God. Will we take hold of that and let it lead us to beautiful and surprising actions?
What would happen today, if you did something that wasn’t normal, but that was absolutely beautiful? What if you started a conversation with someone living on the street as you walked by? What if you did a radical act of generosity? What if you decided to commit yourself to sharing a meal with others on a regular basis? What if you stood up for someone on the “other side” of any number of divisive issues when others are labeling their worth? There is no end to the creative possibilities of life with Jesus! Have at it.
Jesus, help me move beyond desire and into action, so that I might resemble the same difference you lived on earth.