There is no way to avoid it. It is the like any one of the plagues in the Old Testament, culture is something that is skin deep and it’s here to stay.
But what is culture? Culture can be defined as the particular behavior or characteristics of a social, ethnic or age group. In other words, it’s the beliefs and ideas ingrain in the majority of people which informs or dictates most facets of life. These characteristics or beliefs become the norm within this society.
What is wrong with culture? Nothing and everything. What do I mean by this? Culture is who we are and what we hold dear to us, particularly when we refer to ethnic culture. But, living in a society that resembles a 31 flavor ice cream that has melted and blended into a big mush can leave many Lost in Translation. Culture can also set the tone for conversations that are acceptable and those that are deemed unacceptable. Worse yet, culture can label something irrelevant and thus render it useless and insignificant. Unfortunately, this culture has systematically taken Christianity out of the social conversation and has labeled it irrelevant or public enemy #1.
How so? Tune in to a music award and take notice of how many artists profess their love for Jesus and give thanks to God for receiving an award for a song or video that I would not show my 14-year-old daughter. Watch politicians speak about morals and values, which they learned growing up in church, face the consequences of a sexual indiscretion or corruption charges. Additionally, how many others have used Christianity to shield themselves as they spew hate, make outrages claims and bring dissension everywhere they go. God and Jesus have become the symbols of fanatics or the empty cry of many who never understood what it meant to have a relationship with them and not just an association. Culture has either made Christianity a symbol of hate and bigotry or it has embraced it to suit its purpose thus rendering it irrelevant or public enemy #1.
The question we should be asking ourselves is, whether our faith should be a private matter or a public one. Should we be the voice of reason or should we be silent in the face of adversity? Should we melt and blend into this culture and society or should we stand out like a light in the darkness?
How can we do this? Simple, we need to live out loud and influence culture rather than being influenced by it. We have been called to be the light of the world and shine for Him. We might live in the world but we are not of the world, therefore our thoughts, actions, and speech should not resemble that of the world. Let’s love our enemies and pray for them. Let’s be better people, better listeners, better friends, spouses, and children. Let’s stand for those who are oppressed, give voice to those who are not heard and lift up those that society has rejected. Let’s be different not for the sake of being different but because as believers we are called to be different. Let’s stand up, stand out and live out loud.
How will you do it today?