Wisdom for the (Whiny and) Aged

Romans 12:1-8 – The 11th Sunday of Ordinary Time – for August 24, 2014

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…” (Romans 12:2)

I so enjoyed these words when Garrison Keillor shared them in one of his Lake Wobegon tales . . .

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.


10502483-standardKeillor didn’t write them! They didn’t first appear in a Prairie Home Companion radio drama!

Of course Paul wrote this encouragement to the Christian community in Rome. Indeed, long before I heard Keillor’s tale, Roman 12:2 faithful challenge inspired and intimidated me. Nonetheless, whenever I read Paul’s cautionary insights about conforming, I also revisit a fictional time in Minnesota’s Lake Wobegon . . .

In the yarn Keillor spun, every youth in the Lake Wobegon Lutheran Church’s confirmation class had to select a Bible verse that would be memorized and eventually read to the congregation. My fractured memory recalls that one boy chose John 11:35 . . . Jesus wept. Clever lad, since he only had to memorize two words. Another youth took Genesis 1:1, one of the most popular verses in the Bible: In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth. Didn’t everyone know the Bible’s opening line? A young woman named Lois was either less smart or more adventurous than her fellow students when she selected Romans 12:2. Continue reading →