Brush Strokes

“Don’t be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds so that you can figure out what God’s will is – what is good and pleasing and mature.”
Romans 12:2 (Common English Bible)
            Gilbert “Dibo” Doran holds the Curacao’s 2019 title as the King of Tumba, Curacao’s Carnival anthem. A music genre indigenous to this area of the Caribbean, Tumba has its roots in the history of slavery and remains popular for ending parties on a high note. “Nowadays, the Tumba Festival is the biggest music festival of the island. Local composers and musicians compete for living their culture to the max.”[1]Doran self-identifies as a “patriot to the bone” asserting that one’s culture and tradition are part of your identity. It’s your roots. Through his original music compositions, Doran desires to leave his mark on the music genre, to be an example, to contribute to the longevity of the cultural imprint of the Tumba Festival. Perseverance is key, adds Doran.
            Gilbert Doran is a man whose life is organized around a central purpose. Raised in a single-parent home, Doran neither ran away from life nor ran along with life. He set himself apart from other children by intentionally directing his life around a core passion – a passion for the culture, folklore, and tradition of Curacao, particularly as expressed in music. “Instead of a bike or a Nintendo, I would ask for drums, a piano, or cymbals as a gift.”[2]Doran stands proudly among women and men who have done the most for the world precisely because they are nonconformists. He has elevated the level of life for ages to come for the people of Curacao because of a driving passion to contribute positively to his corner of the world.
            This is precisely what the Apostle Paul is asking of those who would follow Jesus Christ. Be a nonconformist! Don’t go along with life, drifting wherever the flow of life may take you, becoming shaped by whatever forces surround you. Set your mind on God. Learn of God. Seek to know God’s will and discern all that is good, and pleasing, and mature. As Doran held, perseverance is key.  The distinguished preacher from another generation, Robert J. McCracken once observed, “The reason why so many people are at the mercy of circumstance is that they have neither discovered a faith by which to live nor a cause to serve.”[3]The “patterns of this world” exert a powerful shaping influence upon each person. The Apostle Paul provides another way. Draw on spiritual resources greater than your own. Fix your eyes on God.
            Many people today take the path of least resistance. Without a driving conviction to mature in the faith through regular time with God by prayer and reading the Bible, they are caught by the flow of life and carried along paths and channels they have not chosen. The usual result is that their life begins to reflect the standards and practices of their environment. The people they meet and the things that happen to them likely shape who they become. It is as though they surrender the brush strokes that paint their life portrait to an unknown hand. Here, in his letter to the church in Rome, the Apostle Paul urges that we submit the brush strokes that will paint our portrait to the hand of the Master, Jesus Christ.

[1]Nelly Rosa, “I Want My Legacy To Live On.” Caribbean Beat. January/February, 2020. 85.
[2]Ibid. 85.
[3]Robert J. McCracken, “The Peril of Conformity.” Best Sermons: 1951-1952 Edition(New York: The Macmillan Company, 1952), 24.

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