Melania the Younger. Icon photographed by Prietenii, licensed under the Free Art License.

Holy imitation

A manual for disciples

Of Paul's many bold statements, perhaps none seems more brazen to modern readers than his demand that the Christians in Corinth take him as their model (1 Cor. 4:16). Our culture values originality, not slavish imitation. Wouldn't you rather take the road less traveled than another's beaten path?

Our modern quest for uniqueness, however, is constantly undermined by the pressures of mass culture. Mass media and marketing promote conformity. We happily brandish logos, slogans and imprints on our clothing and possessions and even our food. Our very bodies are being transfigured into the image and likeness of commercial enterprises. It seems that virtually all people pattern their lives on some kind of model, whether they like it or not.


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