Daily Thoughts, November 22, 2004
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Fitting into the right box is important, or so we think.  It seems as if the more we express our freedom, the more we reflect Madison Avenue’s view of how we should behave.  If one isn’t careful the programmed appeal of political parties, sport teams, entertainment, dress, and even behavior will dominate even the strongest.  The tension existing between fitting in, doing what is within the norm, and being accepted is minimal compared to being your own person.  Yet I wonder.  Where did the balance go?
When you cynically look at the clothes of any and every generation you discover the uniforms of the day.  Sometimes they are prescribed, like a English children’s school with their smart jackets and ties.  In other circumstance the uniforms reflect the programmed consumption of an age shaped by the media.  The uniformity of the pattern exists and remains.  You see it in the clothes we wear, places we go, and even in the things we eat and drink.
When people step outside the norm, they often find themselves in trouble.  It doesn’t even have to be the clothes or behavior.  If one talks with a different accent or by using words outside another’s comfort zone, one can find one’s self sitting alone, wondering if there are any friends left for you in the world.  The sad part is that this isn’t new.  Generations before us have faced the same question of fit.  When Jesus faced the stones and confronted his accusers, the response was a warning to all who would be themselves.  “We're not stoning you for anything good you did, but for what you said—this blasphemy of calling yourself God.”  (John 10.33)  Jesus’ words didn’t fit
We have a choice; old, young, experienced, and new kids in the frame must decide.  We can make the world’s uniform our own or be our own person.  The latter can seem complicated, but it isn’t.  The opposite of the world is found in the words compassion, mercy, and love.  Choose this road and you will find yourself fitting it with God.

November 21, 2004
November 23, 2004