The Bare Soul - July 15, 2007
Conform or Transform?

My 17 year old daughter went to see the newest Transformers movie with friends. I asked her, "Did you like it?" She said "Yes" and I left it at that. I guess I wasn't very interested in the idea of alien machines coming to earth to wreck havoc in a morality play about metal on metal, good versus evil, which is what I gathered to be the gist. Those of you who have seen the movie could probably clue me in on much more of the twists and turns, and both the low and high lights of the film, but I will probably pass on this one. I missed the Transformers craze growing up and my kids barely grazed the meteoritic rise and fall of the toy in the 80s and 90s.

I am somewhat intrigued, however, by the idea of transformation to suit a particular situation of survival as apparently these robotic creatures underwent. Evolution, I suppose, would imply a subtle and deliberate change over time to match one's environment -- to adjust in certain ways as to survive as the "fittest". Transformation, on the other hand, implies a radical change that would catapult one into another dimension of existence, possibly one that was not feasible without this transformation.

I think about when I started barefoot running and how, overnight, my thinking regarding how to run, and run healthy, changed radically. I had always thought that cushioned shoes were the very things that would keep me from injury. When the realization came to me that cushioned running shoes were not my protector, but my destructor, then it was like an epiphany of the highest order. The very thing that was suppose to protect me was actually allowing me to continue my bad running form and was slowly but deliberately ruining my knees, my legs, and my desire to enjoy running as I had once loved it. It became painful to run with my knees cracking and groaning every time I bent them. However, the pain went away when I started acting differently. I literally began to move away from the conformist view of what runners should wear to stay healthy. In turn, I transformed my thinking, understanding that to land lightly by displacing my weight quicker by shorter strides and quicker cadence would result in reduced wear and tear on my knees, ankles, feet, and overall lower torso. It was liberating to say the least!

I find Paul's words in the book of Romans very apropos for this discussion. Paul states in chapter 12, in the first part of verse 2 ... And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, ... . The apostle challenges the Roman Christians to take an active role in the transformation that Jesus Christ seeks to perform in the hearts by doing one simple thing ... Renewing their minds -- preparing their minds -- setting their minds on holy and good things and allowing God to change their hearts and their passions accordingly. I like to look at it like this: God is the Master Constructor and I am but his laborer. If one were to pour a new driveway, footing would need to be dug, wood forms would need to be constructed, rebar or fencing would need to be placed within the footing to provide the concrete with a solid body to cling. Then, the Master Constructor would pour the concrete and smooth it and allow it to temper and bind together and mold until it is strong and hard. Once the concrete is dry and finished, the forms can be removed. When Paul talks about "renewing the mind" in order to be transformed, it says to me that Jesus wants me to prepare my heart by digging the footing, preparing the forms and such, and then His Heavenly Father will pour his substance into my heart and change me forever. What a glorious transformation!

While I suppose robotic transformations are fun to watch at the movie theatres, I am more earnest to watch God change hearts (including mine) by radical shifts of thought -- thinking that has the earthly and carnal sensibility changed by an epiphany of the soul that propels us into that new dimension. That, my friend, is true transformation! May the Lord show us his mercy in such radical ways!

Having a Blessed Barefoot Blast!

Barefoot Rick

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