Yea,.. It was only a small room.. but we crammed ourselves in there to have a very important conversation…
We faced the whiteboard and talked about traits… Specifically character traits that we both felt we wanted to display and receive…
In a way we were building a year long contract between the 15 of us about how we are/were to act, react, discuss, resolve, display, and ultimately things that would keep us interacting in a particular way.
But in short– We were building a culture.
Culture is a funny word! Often it’s used in a context to justify something..
We justify things like alcoholism, pornography, cheating, ETC>
We don’t flinch, we don’t speak up, we especially don’t like to think about it- We both tell ourselves, others, and are told by others… that it’s alright! It’s just a part of our culture.
Defined as: the ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society.
Culture is something that is in its deepest form unreliable..
Positive- It’s generally very dynamic, inclusive, and it’s often very helpful for setting values among a large group of people.
However (negative)- Culture can create blind followers, it tends to blur the lines of morality removing any distinct line in which something is wrong or right (it’s just a part of the current culture or it’s not..), culture often doesn’t have a regard for minor beliefs or values (majority wins), it’s inclusivity can be related to the culture itself, and finally culture doesn’t naturally head in any particular direction/ it doesn’t have a vision- Making it vulnerable to a hijack and making it hard to trust.
Yet it seems we live by it… We swear by it… It’s the culture we’re apart of!
So why tell us that culture is “bad” after clearly presenting that you yourself have built one, lived in one, lived by one?
Well, I wasn’t trying to describe it as something bad/evil. In fact- Any group of people following an agreed upon set of values is technically in a culture.
But culture is still more present than that…
There is a rugby culture, there is a gaming culture, there is a church culture…
Culture itself is not bad – It has flaws (so do I).
However culture that is free to fester and change without boundaries, or limits– Ie… A culture that isn’t being led, or aiming towards something… That’s where it gets messy.
So where do we go from here?
My aim is to get this idea across-
All to often we follow the social norms (the culture), we do almost everything that everyone else is doing… Except maybe sex before marriage, and swear all the time…
But the Christian life isn’t just refraining from 2 things and saying, now I’m good!
We were called to be set apart- We are here to spread a better culture- We have been given some boundaries (that protect us), we have been given a vision (that guides us), we have been given a set of values (that are actually desirable)…
So now it’s our turn to stand up, step out, display, discuss, act, and react according to the culture that Jesus set for us.
Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)
John 17:15-17 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. (NIV)
Over in Canada one of my friends started reading a book… She got only a couple chapters in and she started telling us about it; jumping up and down in a form of excitement about… the roles and responsibilities of a Christian.
The book: Radical by David Platt.
I sat down a couple months ago and I was reminded by her excitement… I hadn’t quite been convinced to read it at that time- But sitting in my room at about 6pm I felt drained and empty… So I pulled out my phone and downloaded it..
I got through the first 5 chapters before I burst into tears, and had to have a life chat and a gentle cry with God.
You see, I have taken for granted how accessible God is. I have dismissed Him time and again for “better things”… All the while living a very lukewarm existence..
I’ve watched things, listened to things, said things, and it goes on. Things that I would be self-conscious to say/do/hear in the physical presence of God> (because I am convinced they would hurt His heart; like He would take one look at me and decide that I am not actually worth His time..)
And yet I can get so swept up in it- I end up only letting Him into my life once a week when I am pretending and acting that I’m better than I really am.
Now I want to step up, take charge and develop a deeper relationship with God. I want to live radically.
How about you?
This is the first one in my new series of (hopefully) many!! I hope it proved thought provoking and my greatest hope is that we can band together to lead others into the culture Jesus set.
Thanks for reading!!
Feel free to share it if you think it was worth a read.. 🙂