This morning, on a local radio station devoted to people calling themselves Christian, there was a young lady encouraged to talk, who stated that “our culture” is trying to label Christianity as bad, as evil, as to be avoided. This struck me as very troubled, but I wasn’t sure why, until prayer and the response of the Lord.
Starting perhaps two or three centuries after the beginning of the church, possibly most leaders of churches have told their listeners that they should own, or should try to own, the culture of the place in which they reside. This attitude has been very attractive to many leaders over the ages, because a political religious zealot is a very useful tool. She or he serves whichever politicians will pay lip service, and religious leaders too, and all are helped in building the groups of people over which they have influence and control, and from which they are supported.
This is exactly the same in every nation of the world, and every religion of the world that has ever been. Religion is designed to support whatever spiritual behavior is most common to the people, the government supports it, and everyone is as happy as possible. This is the essence of “positive” culture. Every nation of this world has also had its “negative” culture as well, in which open evil of any sort finds glorification, in which practitioners of various forms of evil find those that congratulate them, and support them. And every once in a long while, in a lifetime or two, there are mixings and inversions between the two.
There is only one exception to all of the above. He is Lord. From Him we have it, that we are not of this world, that we are not to love this world and its things and its purposes. From the Lord we have it, that our purpose is not proud happiness, and not even family as this world defines it. He has said that although we of Him are in this world, we are not of this world, and we do not share the fate of this world: He has said that this world shall be destroyed due to its sin, and He does not give anyone the option to save it. From the Lord we have it, that our purpose, is to help Him do many specific things, always in the service of the Kingdom of Heaven, which does not dominate this world. We are called to obedience and service and freedom in His causes, in His life, in His purposes, and not those of this world. We are called to remember that the only one who is good, is God. We are called to remember that it is only He from whom anything truly good comes.
And so, if we are obedient and live in His life, we therefore must ask Him to build us culture of our own. And since He began His church many of us have done so. He has built huge and very multifaceted church-cultures around the world, which recognize each other when their people meet; and when He builds them, He makes them in such a way that they engage the other cultures around them, so that anyone who seeks Him, finds Him.
But their cultures, are not our cultures. They are of this world. Many of them devote their time and resources to trying to make this world a better place in which to live, and this is not our purpose either. Our purpose is the Kingdom of Heaven, also called the Kingdom of God, which is not in this world, though a small proportion of its citizens are present here.
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