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What does it mean to not be conformed to the world?

Discussion in 'The Junk Drawer' started by LovebirdsFlying, Sep 4, 2017.

  1. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
    I see it a lot, especially in very conservative congregations or families. Sometimes all of the other parents really do say yes, and only the very small minority says no. I understand the logic in the "I'm not everybody else's parent" and "what if your friends jumped off a bridge" arguments, but can this philosophy go too far? Where is the balance between not being conformed to the world, and being so sheltered you basically become irrelevant to society?

    Let's call him Billy. He goes to a public school. At home, his access to music, television, movies, the internet, and other technology is severely limited. He is not allowed to listen to or watch what his classmates are listening to, watching, and talking about. When the other kids make some pop culture reference, and Billy has no idea what it even means, he cannot join in on their conversation. He dares not ask what it means, or who that person is that they just mentioned. He knows it will only get him laughed at and reviled as stupid for not knowing. He is socially ostracized.

    Let's call her Sally. Also a public school student, she has numerous restrictions on what she is allowed to do with her appearance. She dresses in dark, somber, solid colors. In PE class, she may wear shorts, but only if she wears a skirt over them, at least knee-length. She is not allowed to do basic grooming such as shaving her legs and underarms, or tweezing where her eyebrows meet in the middle. Other girls in her class have pink or purple stripes in their hair, but Sally can forget that. The only thing she is permitted to do with her hair is brush it and put it in a simple pony tail or bun. Of course, makeup, jewelry, and perfume are all strictly forbidden. Think she'll ever find a date?

    Billy and Sally's parents don't care that their children are far out of step with classmates. They say you're not supposed to conform to the world anyway, that Christians are called to be a peculiar people, and furthermore, if Sally looked any better, she'd only be leading the boys into lust.

    What is the healthy application of verses such as Romans 12:2 and 1 Peter 2:9? If we make ourselves such oddballs that the world just writes us off as crazy and won't listen to a word we say, isn't that actually doing damage to the gospel?
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  2. faroukfarouk

    faroukfarouk Fading curmudgeon

    Hi; those verses you quoted are supremely important.

    But they don't broach the subject of whether to have 1 earring per earlobe or 2, whether to wear heels, etc.
  3. HereIStand

    HereIStand Regular Member Supporter

    United States
    It's fine if parents want to impose such restrictions. It's unfair to also send them to a public school though. Homeschooling would be best or a Christian school.
    Beyond this, I struggle with how knowledgeable Christians need to be of pop culture. Years ago, we had a counter-culture, because maybe there was a definable culture. Now though, our culture (such as it is) seems to be more of series of media-generated stars and events.
  4. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
    I was thinking the same thing about the home schooling. If parents put that kind of restriction on their kids, then don't send them to public school where they'll be set up to be the buffoon. Unfortunately, to some parents, school is nothing but a means to get rid of the kids for a few hours, and home schooling would defeat the purpose. They take little to no interest in what the kids are learning. They only care about the quiet time. Ever see those "humorous" back-to-school photos of kids standing there looking like every puppy in the world just got run over by a car, while the mother looks like she just won the lottery? Ugh, if you ask me.

    I do feel Christians should be informed of what's happening in the world, and have a good education on the basic school subjects. When we open our mouths and say something completely ignorant, it only takes away our credibility when we talk about the Lord. To some Christians, though, the only book we ever have any reason to read is the Bible. Anything else, and we're conforming to the world. I hope it's a very small number. However, because I have something of an unusual background, I've known a few of those.

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

    United States
    It is a difficult question to resolve, at what point do we cease to help our children, and begin to handicap them?

    There has to be a balance, we live in the world, but we have no need to be a part of it.

    There are children who have been reigned in their entire lives,that when the gates are finally opened, they have no judgment as to those things which are hurtful to them, (Spiritually) it isn't that they are rebelling, it is that they have been deprived of those things that everyone else has not and they are walking into the candy store with a hand full of money, the kid is going to partake until they get sick, and that might just be to late.

    We as Parents are to guide our children, but if all we are doing is restricting their understanding then they become handicapped.

    Parents should keep this in mind, not only for their children, but for themselves as well, being an example to their children.

    Col. 2:20
    Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
    21) (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
    22) Which all are to perish with the using, after the commandments and doctrines of men?
    23) Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

    Gal. 2:20
    I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

    Jesus told them, it's not what goes into a man which defiles him, but that which comes out of him, out of his heart, those are the things which defile a man.

    We through the course of our children's lives teach them Morals.

    Train up a child in the way he shall go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

    They may in the future wear the appropriate clothes, but resent being a Christian, because it is soooo restrictive.

    Restriction, without explanation, and understanding is Tyranny.
    Just what is it we are teaching our children?
  6. Beorh

    Beorh Writer of Dark Literature

    United States
    Conformed = formed with or made one with

    Transformed = moved beyond the form or changed or transfigured

    Some Christians may see my double ear piercings (I am a man) and tattoos as ungodly and proof that I have conformed to this world, but they cannot see my heart and my relationship with Jesus unless they discern such in me by the power of the Holy Spirit. Then the outer trappings become irrelevant. Indeed there is a place for physical modesty, but if we look back, usually via films made in the 40s and 50s, the women dressed modestly but not frumpily, showing their beauty but not sexuality. That's the way my gorgeous wife dresses, and yet she knows that she is not enticing any man with her body when she is in public.
  7. Questore

    Questore MJ Supporter

    United States
    We cannot ever teach those around us if we cannot even speak their language. Learning only Christianese or Yeshivaim hinders anyone's ability to skim the edges of society. Some knowledge of worldly ways must be taught to enable any of us to make a living, and use one's gifts from G-d to make a difference.

    In the end, it is the Parent that decides what their children will know and how they will dress and speak, and even think...at least while they are children, but regimented morality does them little good when they step out into a college environment and run into every kind of attack on their G-dliness, and their careful education as Believers.

    Careful parents need to know what to protect their little ones from...not just some of the dangers, but all of the dangers and the best way to do that is to teach them what the Enemy is doing in the secular world, and show them what is wrong with what is around them, and how to discern what is right, and thus stand up against peer pressure.

    I once mentioned online at the time they came out that I read all the Harry Potter books and was virtually crucified in virtual reality, but with a firm grounding in mythology and legends of the world, I faced no danger of being lured to witchcraft or sorcery, and I can talk to people about what is wrong in the books. The stories and characters are great on friendship, and the plot is good against evil, but there is no mention of any G-d in the world of the Harry Potter books...just the odd, unused church used for burials of the non-witches and non-warlocks.

    But having read, and enjoyed them and the movies as a 50ish adult, I can also say that Harry Potter actually dies himself in order to save all the good people in his world from all the bad...and has a resurrection, even if it is a magical one, and thus use it to transition to Yeshua, and what Yeshua’s life and death did for mankind. If a parent doesn't read what is in the books as a study of possible evil, and find out what to say about them to their children, the child will be lost when exposed as a young adult, because the books and movies are brilliant, enjoyable, and oddly, meant for young people (if worldly ones), and what is not seen as a teen and thoroughly studied, it will be read or seen at college with no protection at all, as the books are so well-written they are used in English classes in High School and College.

    The same holds true for all worldly knowledge. The Simpsons are crass cartoons to me, but they have humor and social comment that forms the basis of much general conversation at work, as do other popular shows. Knowing the latest movies, even though one only reads the reviews and story content can let our young people not look like troglodytes from the 1800's, prior to Darwin.

    Darwin must be thoroughly explained as well, and the proper use of language, and why the world uses vulgar and blasphemous talk that is offensive. Ammunition must be given to our children to fight the ideas of atheism and socialism and communism...and if parents do not give them the ideas to fight the world’s ideas, we must get the help of the those that know such things...from our communities, from the retired persons who know up from down, and why the Kingdom of G-d is upside down from the world.

    You can train up a child in right ways, but only in a Christian based world will that hold until they run the gamut in public schools and universities, and be able to walk their witness to others, rather than bible-thump people they meet.

    Alas…the world can no longer be termed ‘Christendom’ anymore, anywhere, and a child is not completely protected by the mere teaching of Biblical things unless they stay at home forever. The Armor of G-d includes knowledge of Scripture in the imaging of the Sword of the Spirit, but it doesn’t hurt to have some brass knuckles and a baseball bat to aid in the more worldly battles.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2017
  8. Apex

    Apex Radical Centrist & Ethicist

    United States
    I think you should read all of 1 John. It might be helpful in understanding this topic.

    1 John 2:15-17
    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    1 John 3:11-14
    For this is the message that you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not be surprised, brothers, that the world hates you. We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers. Whoever does not love abides in death.

    1 John 3:16-18
    By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

    The "world" to John was any desire antithetical to God's desires. We align ourselves with God's desires by loving one another.

    World = selfish love
    God = selfless love
  9. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

    It's about becoming love and letting God shape us rather than being shaped by the world. I recommend this video:

  10. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
    Checking in to say thanks for all the thoughtful answers. Not feeling well enough to concentrate right now, but I'd like to continue the discussion soon.
  11. pat34lee

    pat34lee Messianic

    People thought that Jesus and the disciples were so odd, they killed Jesus
    and most of them. And that was a religious society. Persecution is always
    the result of following Jesus. Always.

    If our neighbors or our co-workers cannot tell any difference between us
    and those who hate God, what good are we to him? We can say what we
    like, but if our actions don't match, people know. They know by what our
    kids do, and how we drive and treat the people we interact with.
  12. Ron Gurley

    Ron Gurley What U See is What U Get!

    United States
    1 John 2:15-17
    Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    The "buck" does not stop with God.

    3 possible proximate and intervening CAUSES that create a loss of FELLOWSHIP with God:
    1. a chaotic "world" system after Eden (kozmos)
    2. Old Man's "sin nature" exercised against God
    3. spiritual attack by satan/demons

  13. LovebirdsFlying

    LovebirdsFlying My husband drew this cartoon of me. Staff Member Red Team - Moderator Supporter

    United States
    Thanks again for the answers. It occurs to me that any of the following ways of thinking may be a red flag.

    "It's a shame old man Milton died so soon after he retired. Too bad he didn't get to kick back and enjoy the fruits of his labor." (Well, if he's in Heaven, and let's hope he is, that's like comparing a generic hot dog to a fancy steak dinner. I think I'd rather make the trade.)

    "Lord, please don't call me yet. I just bought a new house/car and I want to enjoy it for a while." (Same as above. I do appreciate my house, but I'd trade it for the mansion He's built for me at any time.)

    A couple of country songs also come to mind. "If Heaven ain't a lot like Dixie, I don't want to go...." No. It's better.
  14. Dave-W

    Dave-W Welcoming grandchild #7, Arturus Waggoner! Supporter

    United States

    Your post brought to mind a country style song from the Jesus movement. Here is the chorus:

    I cannot come.
    I cannot come to the banquet, don't bother me now;
    I have married a wife, I have purchased a cow.
    I have fields and commitments that cost a pretty sum;
    Please hold me excused, I cannot come. ​
  15. grasping the after wind

    grasping the after wind That's grasping after the wind

    This seems to be the attitude of many a christian I have met. I remember a conversation i had where the person I was speaking to mentioned a retirement community in the area of Ocala Florida that was "Like Disney World for Seniors." . This person said a relative lived there and I commented that I thought that it was a bad idea to segregate oneself from the rest of the world and become a sort of an aged child unconcerned for anything but amusing oneself when one had enough time and energy to become engaged with it in a positive way for the glory of God. The response I got was that the relative had worked for 40 years in order to enjoy the reward at the end of their life.
    To me this was a Christian totally unfamiliar with the whole point of Christianity.