Setting the Culture

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The Old Testament is full of people - real people; whose lives are messy, their families dysfunctional and their obedience not always full or immediate, yet God used them.  Our study of their lives is to bring perspective, hope and instruction to ours - to recognise that at times we are tempted to sanitise or selectively interact with their stories and in that way make them heroes.  The reality is that their stories are powerful because they are human like us and face the same temptations and frailty that we do - yet God used them.

One of my all time favourite Bible stories is found in Daniel 3 - and most of us will be very familiar with the Sunday School story.

My adult question is:  how did these three men stand up - to the point of death - against the prevailing ruler, culture and law?  AND... what is our equivalent today? How do we live in a culture and not be shaped by it, but rather shape it? 

As part of investigating that question - I’d like to show you a video clip that I think captures the one of the prevailing rulers, or culture and norm of our day...

The king was looking to change the culture of the people he had conquered and he did by intentionally going after their:  Language, Literature, Food, Names.  This is genius - modern day sociologists say:

“The observable aspects of culture such as food, clothing, celebrations, religion and language are part of a person’s cultural heritage...the shared values, customs and histories shape the way a person thinks, behaves and views the world.”

By intentionally going after the Literature, Language, Food & Names the king was seeking to completely swallow and rewrite any previous culture. We too live in a world that is seeking to do that to us - the prevailing culture we live in has a ruling power of consumerism, personal preference & pain avoidance

The powers of the age seeks to call us to worship, surrender and be owned by it all at the same time,  and spends trillions of dollars doing so!  So what can we learn & how can we resist?

Let's unpack three intentional practices - cuisine, connection and clan - that can be used to create a culture that empowers us to live in such a way that the world around us notices a difference - that sees the God in our midst - and has the opportunity to then change and join in! 

What is the space that most connects with you?