A Creative Minority 5 – Alternative Practices


A Key Scripture

Do not conform to the pattern of this world

(Romans 12:2)

Key Quote

A Creative Minority does not accept the status quo – through tangible actions it steps into the brokenness of the world and begins to release a prophetic imagination about what life can be like. (page 42)


This week, we continue to look at the six defining characteristics of a creative minority. We reflect on the fourth:

Practices – Counter-formative Action: we are being ‘discipled’ by the wider culture all of the time. The world shapes us into its likeness at deep levels. It does this through media and marketing and in all areas, including money, sexuality, religion and self-image. The gospel should help us be aware of this ‘cultural formation’ – the small daily habits that turn our love to other gods and idols. We have to exercise ‘counter-formative practices’ – alternative habits that help us resist these shaping forces of the surrounding culture. This won’t just happen by getting right doctrine. It has to be matched by daily practices. He gives the example of daily worship in his church in New York, and of couples who sacrifice money and comfort to live in an area where they can ‘live differently’ to bring renewal in a challenging area. He uses a stunning illustration of the ‘Cellist of Sarajevo’ who confronted the ugliness of ear with the beauty of music.

Questions for Reflection

  1. In what ways are we being shaped and formed by our culture?
  2. How does the gospel make us aware of this cultural formation?
  3. He does not give us many examples of alternative practices – what he calls ‘counter-formative practices’. What daily habits do you think would help us to resist being formed by our culture?


Next time we will look at the fifth characteristic: Authority. We will look at how are we able to determine what is true and right in a ‘post-truth’ world, and whose authority we are living under.   

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