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Could you fit the Christian message in a Tweet? 160 characters or less? I think I could fit an explanation, but I believe beliefs need to be embodied, not something we simply comprehend in our head.

There’s a scripture in Romans: 12:2. “Do not conform to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”

The popular interpretation is holding the ‘right beliefs’. If we remember the right answers then somehow those answers will trickle their way down and transform the heart.

Turns out the ‘renewal of the mind’ doesn’t mean what we keep in our head but the ‘way of thinking’ reflective of our character–a reality lived out in love, hospitality, living out our gifts, mercy, prayer, respect, and more.

These items are what our lives are being drawn towards if we say we are Christians.

Jesus encountered something similar when he engaged with the Pharisees. The entire chapter of Matthew 23 is a story of Jesus continuously blasting the religious elite because they were more interested in upholding rules and the illusion of right living over the embodied practices like justice, mercy, loyalty.


Some have taken the words of ‘do not conform’ to support living in a disconnected, constructed, and separate Christian world. “Stand against the sinful ploys of the world by staying within the safe confines of the church walls.” One could literally spend their days going between church programs and never making a friend outside of the church.

The problem with this thinking? It is challenged by the very nature of Jesus.

The Messiah confronts insular and safe church community because his core story is one about God intentionally and profoundly connecting into our world. The greatest and most remarkable example of connection is what Christians call the “incarnation”. God enters the history of humanity as a human.

This is the complete opposite of separating from the world.

The incarnation, the embodiment of the Gospel, the Word made flesh whom moved into the neighborhood, is the reality we pursue and the source of our hope.

If incarnation describes God taking ON flesh, then excarnation is the opposite. Excarnation is the term used to describe the preparation of bones for burial; a literal de-fleshing of bones.

Today, our faith is indeed challenged by conformity to popular cultural trends. The de-fleshing of our faith happens in the disengagement of our connected culture. Screen culture gives us more access to the brief interludes in the lives of others, but it’s also transforming the way we connect. If Christians want to be different from the world, then the tension is against disengagement that pulls us away from practices of the Kingdom, like love, justice, hospitality, peacemaking, and more.

The excarnate experience has replaced the touch of a screen with the touch of a hand. When we approach a faith that challenges the push and pull of culture we offer a depth of relationship everyone craves yet most of the times neglect.

Our community is trying to find an identity that pursues the transformative good news found in the incarnate Christ. Living like Jesus in the neighborhood is a character that’s compelling, challenging and a calling to be: hospitable, pursue Justice, to beautify, subvert and forgive, and more. This kind of faith is an embodied practice we invite others into and in order to work, needs interaction, touch, feel, taste, all things you simply cannot accomplish from afar.