My seventh grade social studies teacher, Mr. Brock, defined a word on the first day of class and taught the rest of the year out of what that word meant in every theme, unit and topic. He defined culture as a way of life.
A sociological study of the term may not limit culture to such a elemental understanding. I, however, have found this definition to aid all of my pursuits of understanding the human situation. Particularly in the church, there is a culture, and it comes down to a congregational level of embracing a way of life.
I read two passages today from the Daily Office that brought me to the term and its definition again.
The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: Speak to all the congregation of the people of Israel and say to them: You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy. – Leviticus 19: 1, 2
May the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do this. – 1 Thessalonians 5: 23, 24
The God of the Old Testament is a God that initiates relationship in covenant, redeems/rescues/saves and speaks commands to the covenant partners to obey. To be in the company of an imperfect people, God establishes a way of life for his people to live in and live out. They were to be a unique people committed completely in worship and in behavior to the God of their ancestors. They were a stiff-necked and difficult people, but God loved them. He wanted them to be like him.
Paul knew the God he’d encountered in the resurrected Christ Jesus wasn’t merely interested in proper behavior. The life-after-death God wanted to abide, unfold his tent in each believer in his Son. He would live in each by the power of his own Spirit. His children would be granted righteousness, not by proper obedience, but by faith in his Son and surrendering to the Spirit. He wanted them to be like him. Now, they could be holy, sanctified entirely. The one who calls is faithful and will do it. Alleluia.
There is then a culture, a way of life, a life style for each follower of Christ in faith. This a way of holy living. This is a life of blessings bestowed and blessings experienced. This is a life of love conveyed and love received. This is a life of judgment denied and judgment acquitted. This is a life of forgiveness given and forgiveness taken. This is a life of miracles seen, heard, felt and unleashed. This is a life in a new Kingdom.
This way of life, this culture is heaven come to earth. Nothing is suppose to be the same when his children live out the Father’s way of life in a world that’s so susceptible to love, the steadfast love of God. God’s Kingdom culture is a way of of life abundant. Amen.