What is my culture?

I sure meant to write more this week.  I also meant to think more though, and I haven’t had time to do quality stuff.  The normal stuff was there of course:

“I hate working on windows”

“My knees hurt and I’m only 31!  50 is gonna suck.”

“Why won’t those kids realize that I would be perfectly happy if they showed how much they loved me by being quiet?”

“Wow, Michelle is still amazingly hot!”

“I hate working on windows”  (I’ve thought that one a lot this week.)

I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday.  I know it is because all the appointments on the calendar for Wednesday, September 9 (9.9.09 by the way) are happening.  The time goes fast when you’re busty.  I mean, busy.  I’m sure time flies when you’re the other, but I wouldn’t know.  Although I DID gain 10 pounds somewhere in the last 10 years.  Yup, I am rapidly approaching the 190 pound mark. That diet of Wendy’s and Coke is really hurting me.

Have I ever mentioned that I get distracted easily?

But I realize now that busy is the key term I’ve been going over this week.  It’s my vacation week, but I am busy.  We had friends over on Monday then worked on the house when they left.  Yesterday was appointments all morning and working all afternoon.  Today was working and appointments followed by soccer tonight.  Mix in making meals and sleeping and we find that we have 24.5 hours worth of things to do.  Imagine what it would be like if I was working?  Or when the kids are back into hockey, swimming or other activities?

And that’s the North American culture now, isn’t it?  What do we value here?  In no particular order and acknowledging that I will forget many things, this is what I can come up with in the next 10 seconds:

possessions (and getting more)


control of our lives



being busy

Those last two don’t really fit together, do they?  Which is why 96% of all sleep therapists and mothers tell us we’re not getting enough sleep!  (I just made that stat up, but I bet your mother will tell you you’re not getting enough sleep.  Mine always did.)

So here is what I see as the prototypical North American, at least Canadian or maybe even Central Albertan lifestyle.  You wake up exhausted, commute to work, work, commute home and then do a quick supper, kids/own sport/social activities and watch TV to “wind down”.  And the last three don’t necessarily occur in that order.

But look at what many missional church leaders say the typical early church life consisted of (see the first chapters of Acts):

Meeting together

Eating together

Sharing the Word

Sharing burdens

Sharing everything with those in need

That’s a lot of sharing.  And does it seem busy?  Rushed?  Alone?  Michelle and I blame it on the cold weather here, but we don’t typically ever see other people in a social basis.  Not even our neighbours!  Why?  Because people go from their warm house, to their warm car in the garage to their work then eventually back home to their warm garage and warm home.  And they don’t come out.

So then how do you ever talk to people?

Living missionally consists of living/showing/ bringing the Gospel of Christ into the culture of those that don’t have it.  It’s really easy to think of it in a international missions sense.  Because we say that any missionary to another culture needs to take on the appearance of that culture in order that they, and their message of hope will be received.

But how does it work in your own culture?  In a warm culture climate (think Mexico or other warm places), the people value community.  They value getting together and eating meals, they want to help out their neighbours and just be social.  Sound familiar?  It should, it sounds like the early Christian church.  So it appears to be quite easy to introduce the Gospel into this context.  (Ignoring of course spiritual warfare aspects, but I know of a guy, or GOD who gives me the power to handle that stuff!)

But here, the culture values basically everything counter to the Gospel and how it teaches us to live with each other.  You want me to share my money or food or possessions?

“Tough luck, I won the social lottery and you didn’t. ”

“It was probably your fault anyways. ”

“If you really worked at it, you could have what I have.”

Or sharing my time?  I DON’T HAVE ANY TIME to share with others.  I barely have enough to take care of myself and also my family.

So to live missionally, I need to put myself into the culture of those that I am trying to reach.  But what do you do when the culture of those that you are trying to reach values the exact opposite of the message you are trying to tell them?  How is that appealing?

And this is my current problem.  What can I do here, in my own town that fits within the culture but also is counter-cultural?  How do I live acceptably within a materialistic, “anything but God and Jesus and Christianity” culture and still maintain my values that there is nothing greater than the Lord and worshiping Him?

Shop, but not too much? House, but not too big?  Car, but not too expensive?  Extra activities, but not too many?  Where is the balance point?

And I haven’t even begun to think about the problem of being too busy with activities to pray effectively and study the Word of God.


One Reply to “What is my culture?”

  1. How about this. Rather than treating the ‘other’ culture as distinct from ‘your’ culture, just exist where you already are. Chances are 100% of your life isn’t devoted to operating within the church walls, so simply reflect on the areas you’re already connected. Exist where you’re already good at existing! What a concept!

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