Point Me in the Right Direction
I’m a little confused and I need some help. I’ve been told a lot lately that, as a Christian, I need to be “countercultural”. I’ve read “Radical” and “Holy Subversion.” We are working through a video series by the late Chuck Colson on the subject of confronting culture. It’s clear that these folks want me to counter “the culture.” OK, but before I start I have a question – just what culture am I supposed to be countering?
It seems they are sure there is this big ugly monolithic thing out there called “culture” and it is just awful. It is a culture that likes things it is supposed to hate and hates things, me for instance, it is supposed to like. We’ve got to get this straightened out, or at least rescue folks from its clutches. OK, let’s do it. These were good books with lots of good ideas. They make things so clear.
Until I go out the door. Outside my door I encounter all sorts of cultures. And I can’t figure out which one is the bad guy that I need to counter. I’ve worked for a few years in the blue-collar, redneck south and been on the fringes of its culture; you know, NASCAR, country music, good time Friday nights etc. I’ve seen things I like about it and things I don’t. Is this the culture I need to counter?
There also seems to be culture based on race. I’ve worked with whites, blacks, Hispanics and a few other cultures in this melting pot of the RDU triangle. I’ve sat and talked with them over lunch. It sure seems to me that there are cultural differences; different assumptions about family, work and life. There are overlaps, sure, but big differences. Am I to pick one of these?
Economics seems to be a cultural issue too. I live within a few miles of a “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” neighborhood and about the same distance from an impoverished neighborhood. A few years back the church I belonged to collected used clothing in the one to give to folks in the other. The time spent in collection and distribution taught us the differences. My own middle class culture was somewhere in the middle but God wouldn’t want me to confront that, would He?
My immediate neighborhood has a few teachers, professors and academics in it. They too seem to have their own culture; their own assumptions about life. Maybe they are the bad guys? The guys writing these books are academics so maybe this is what they are talking about?
Perhaps I should just band together with other Christians and counter all of the above. Of course, I have Baptist friends, Catholic friends and even a few Presbyterian friends and they seem to have cultural assumptions that overlap but are not the same. Perhaps I need to work with folks just like me and oppose all those near-miss guys too.
So I am confused. Why does this thing called culture that the books are so sure is bad seem so fractured and different from place to place? Where do I begin and how do I proceed in countering it? I’ve decided that, while I work to figure this out, I am going to try and “live peaceably with all men”, “be ready to give an account of the hope that is within” me and do my imperfect best to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly” with God. Unless, of course, you can point me in the right direction.