Culture is so much a part of personal and shared (or non-shared) dna, such a natural part of our personalities that in one sense it hardly warrants a blog.
I began this particular post months ago but never finished it. Due to my friend Joe Futral’s recent (and imho, great) piece having to do with culture and art, I decided to finish mine which takes a different track.
“Culture wars” have long been a rather dragged-out-heard-it-enough-already sort of fodder for blogs, news people and pundits, political and otherwise -who really wants to discuss it further?
I do. Because I’m convinced the massive fear and insecurity on one end and fully self-serving arrogance on the other we see in society in ANY part of the world -is often fueled by cultural preferences. My personal view is that plenty of history’s wars came about at least partially due to a vein of cultural preferences that people literally died to protect and defend.
As I’ve often mentioned here, I’m a student of war.
Studying our American Civil War I again found a huge slice of culture and competing cultures colliding. A “way of life” to kill for, a “peculiar institution” (slavery) and a few other issues that brought a nation to its greatest potential breaking point. Throughout the eastern half of the U.S. and more are graveyards with literally thousands upon thousands of markers that testify to the inhumanity of humans.
The “glory” of a “way of life” was in my view, a horrid lie about subjugation of a race on the basis of economics. Eventually some were convinced their very survival wasn’t even a possibility without it.
There were riots and murders in the north as well as south. Racism and robber-barons set up shop (literally) at all points of the compass.
Culture. Preference. Position. A “way of life” that was in fact a way of death and in the end, horrific deaths from the occasional young person clear to the sitting president of the United States. Culture worth killing for, worth dying for, even worth lying for? It seems so, sick and wrong as it was.
All too often people will build barricades to the light. Sin is defined as “THOSE people!” and here comes the trash talk, the rhetoric, the table-turning, the propaganda and eventually in too many cases all-out war with all its horror, misery and fatalities.
Over and over even in modern times- Northern Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Namibia (Then “South West Africa”) under the Germans, the former Belgian Congo, on and on it has gone.
America loved the fruit of colonization and empire and still does. Russia and China demonstrate it plenty as I type this in 2015. Nothing new under the sun.
Culture- the dominant (majority OR minority) people in power in a given region decide to rule even to the extent that “it’s time to cleanse the land of ‘them'”. In recent European history consider the Balkans.
Certainly dictatorships (be they Muslim or not…) vs. western-style democracy have a fair load of cultural norms and a sense of culture and desire for control at core? Then again those with the most money usually have the most power and therefore dictate politics, laws and so forth. In many places the money controls political clout which controls the military and it’s deployment. Again, a core culture is laced throughout all this.
Notice that human nature- that is, the dark, selfish, controlling side of it is a major cog in the wheel of plenty of these cultures. In two words, I would boil it down to “sin IS”. Sin nature is a fact relevant to culture just as is the possibility of redeemed nature via personal relationship (and indeed obedience in love) to Jesus.
Another analogy that comes to mind is say, a wish to eradicate blue in favor of red, or rid ourselves of a particular style of music we find distasteful.
Families break apart, churches split, sometimes it finally comes to people lobbing shells over into the next street or town.
Culture worth preserving! Really? REALLY?
Tozer said if we were satisfied with an imaginary savior we’d have to be satisfied with an imaginary salvation.
Too many people end up shredding their lives as well as the lives of others on the basis of culture, ultimately customs they feel they simply cannot live without.
One may write off Christianity as mere culture- and for those who think so (even as professing Christians) I say “useless and worthless”. If you recognize it is a genuine, faith-Relationship with the Risen Jesus Christ as one’s personal Lord and Savior… nobody can take that away, nor as such, actually give “it” to you in the sense that a relationship with Him is above and beyond mere culture, custom or lifestyle.
O.k., you’ve read this far.
Is there a to fight? Certainly. Rarely.
Note that Christ-followers are called to “overcome evil with good”. He told us “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword”.
Honor? Swinging some sort of sword is always about authentic “honor”? No.
Too many horrors have been perpetrated on the basis of “my will and way of life or else”.
God help us!!
Something to consider when you’re ready to take aim…
Thanks for stopping by. -Glenn