The Common Good

Do We Really Want to Be Transformed?

The Internet is a wonderful, fascinating, and disturbing place — a petri dish of The Fall characterized by opinion as truth. As the Web Editor of Sojourners, I spend more time than anyone has a right to (or typically, the stomach for) perusing unconscionable clickbait, racism and sexism parading as deeply informed counter-thought, various analyses of others’ public failures, and, obviously, cat and baby memes.

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I’m not sure how many times a headline has toyed with my emotions, threatening to “blow my mind” by dropping a “truth bomb” that “no one saw coming!” Invariably, whatever is behind the façade of amazement punctuated with eight exclamation points fails to impress (unless it’s this baby goat jumping for joy set to indie acoustic guitar), and I’m left with a handful of moments of my days I’ll never get back.

In the Christian publication world, we easily fall prey to this trend, and I’ll confess I fail on a fairly regular basis. A colleague and I were discussing how there seems to be a clear trend in Christian blog posts that are aimed at airing the church’s dirty laundry in attempts to prove “yeah, we’re Christians, but …” We’re Christians, but we’re not like them. We’re Christians, but you can probably believe whatever you want to believe and it’ll be fine. We’re Christians, but we’re not going to try to convert you. It goes a little something like:

Here is a problem. Here’s how the Church (universal) fails. Here’s what the Bible says and/or what Jesus would probably say today. Maybe one day it will be better. Hope and/or Easter.

The Interwebz need this kind of commentary amid all the crap. Especially people who have been victimized by the church’s failures need this kind of commentary. And I’ll continue to read, praise, and publish this kind of commentary.

But — do we really want to do better? Do we really want to be transformed?

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” –Romans 12:2

How much time do we, as Christians, spend attempting to discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect? I know I’ll never hit “perfect,” but I’ll strive for “acceptable" — maybe “good” when the week is going my way. How often do we shut out the noise, the drumbeat of the news cycle, to process and listen before speaking?

I was lucky enough to go on a contemplative prayer retreat earlier this week. As an intense multitasker, and somewhat of an extrovert who is constantly glued to at least two media devices, the idea of sitting in silence made me incredibly apprehensive. What could possibly fill the void made empty by the lack of my and my colleagues’ voices? Oh, that’s right: God.

It’s amazing what silence will do for the soul. Communication doesn’t mean noise. And the failures of this world, the church, and each other don't mean that we shouldn't still strive for “thy kingdom come.”

I know. There’s so much to talk about. There are so many people who are doing it wrong. There are so many stories in need of telling and opinions in need of expressing. There is so much pain and suffering and injustice and death.

There is a world in need of transformation.

Sandi Villarreal is Web Editor & Chief Digital Officer for Sojourners. You can follow her on Twitter @Sandi.

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