Culture Making or Being Made by Culture

Maybe it is not a paradox, nor even a mystery. But it is quite a challenge - this thing called culture.

In the Bible, the idea is that we are IN the world but we are not OF the world. We live in the world, but the world is not to live inside us. We dwell in the world as sojourners and travellers. We love the world, but we love the world in the way that God loves the world. We value the world, but we don't cling to it. 

At times we take a strong stand against the fallen systems of the world and we are prophetic witnesses to what is wrong. Other times we take a creative stance among those systems for the purpose of transformation and labor to create what is good, true and beautiful.

Then there are times (we must be very honest) when the world seems to be having its good old way with us. Instead of a witness against the world, or a culture making stance among the world, it seems we are being shaped and remade by the culture in which we live.

Indeed - that is exactly what is happening! That is a force that is at work 24/7/363 until the day you die. The world system is always at work to remake you into its own image. The world is at work to shape you, imprint you, transform you. Paul reminds the Romans, "Do not be conformed to the world."

Unfortunately, the cultural systems in which we live are like the ocean water to the fish who swim in it. The fish do not notice the ocean. It just is. Often, we do not notice the culture. It just is.  And it is powerful and it is formative. 

Culture Making Andy CrouchThe Church is meant to be a counter-culture community where we are formed into a way of faith and shaped by relationship with a God that has a grand purpose for the world. 

Maybe the single best word that describes this purpose is the word - REDEMPTION.

RENEWAL is another good word. Transformation is a decent contender as well. Throw in Healing and you get the sense - God's Plan is AWESOME.

And it requires people, servants, followers, worshippers, children, lovers, creatives, story-tellers, culture-makers, architects of new communities, disciples who are becoming like God and who are devoted to carrying out the mission of God. This is that redeemed culture-making work so well descrbied by Andy Crouch in his excellent work - Culture Making.

Whever you are positioned, know two things.

At that place - the world will seek to remake you into its image.
At that place - God wants to use you for the redeeming of the world.

Your life, every day, is a hinge point. It is one of those beautiful, frigtening mysteries that your YES to God actually matters. So does your NO to the world.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International