Trying desperately to find moments to write on Paul. Argh! Here's an excerpt from late night writing last night:
Such newness of life involves a transformed way of thinking that is different from the way unbelievers in the world think. For some, it is tempting to make Paul’s words in Romans 12:2 into a command to study and get a set of ideas right. Socrates allegedly once said that “Right thinking leads to right action.” Some personalities that are oriented around reason and thinking mistakenly take Paul to say that it is key that we get our ideas and worldviews in order, that if we can only get our ideas right, then everything else will take care of itself. Our “right ideas” will play themselves out into “right living.”
Unfortunately, this is just not the case. Most people have significant points of discontinuity between their professed ideas and how they live. Some of us do not realize it, but many would not change their way of life even if they did. How many people make no attempt to stop smoking or to control their eating even though they know it is horribly harmful to their bodies? How many people in the past have believed in God but continued to live in ways they themselves knew were wrong?
Further, more often than not, the ideas we profess come from our sense about life, rather than the other way around. The arguments we give are just as often meant to justify the conclusion we want to hold rather than real attempts to be objective about the evidence. In the rare occasion when you might get someone to admit their own inconsistency, many will simply confess that they just are not interested in the truth. We humans are simply not rational creatures for the most part, and those interpreters of Romans 12:2 who see the verse in relation to reasoning things out logically are destined for never-ending frustration.
In the end, though, logic simply is not what Paul means when he speaks of a transformed mind. The verses that follow make it clear that he is thinking about a way of thinking about each other, that is, about our attitudes toward one another, as in Philippians 2...