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When Culture Fails

These things I learned this week:

  • That in the culture, individualism can be good, as long as I don’t make an idol of me.
  • Culturally speaking, community is desired; but don’t make an idol of them.
  • Who-a-person-is subjectively is discovered in receiving an objective identity; it is not found by gazing within.
  • The culture seeks to produce many identities from without the self also.
  • We celebrate diversity of attributes; but they are realized only in the service of others — not to build a private reputation.
  • Identity will reproduce itself.

Webster’s from the year 1828 defines “culture” this way: The act of tilling and preparing the earth for crops; cultivation; the application of labor or other means of improvement. 2. … to improve good qualities in, or growth; as the culture of the mind; the culture of virtue. 3. … producing 4. Any labor or means employed for improvement, correction or growth.

Note the word “improvement.” — Obviously for all.

So what?

Within a culture, which describes a commonality, we can still have individuality; this presupposes a free society. In any culture, things can be introduced that influence others in that society, however. John Ashcroft said, “ …there are two ways in which culture shapes behavior – through stigma on the one hand, and affirmation on the other.”

Stigma or affirmation are undermined when the principles of right and wrong are disallowed.

When this happens, people who believe in right and wrong become limited in their influence — and sadly, become limited in their ability to live for their community in a way that improves it.

This ostracizing of moral people happens when an idolatrous viewpoint gets a foothold.  One such, socialism, sees a culture of individuals vying for one unequally split pie while those who find freedom in recognizing, baking, decorating, eating and sharing their own pie, become expendable.

When these kinds of ideologies are in leadership, we have problems.

Granted, obsessive polices may include sincere individuals who carry out ways and means. Other times, individuals are”all in”to philosophical/egotistical mindsets. Some folks vie for the opposite of what you desire in every policy making you the off-scouring, the non-vital, or the insignificant. Freedom for all suffers of these people, not to mention much-needed remedies failing out of neglect.

Where do emotionally pained folk go when true healers are banned?

Where do the abused, self-medicated, empty, depressed and hopeless turn? Well in some philosophies, men are labeled “resilient” in others they are written-off as “losers.” Psychology offers a band-aid and philosophy merely gives a perspective.

When your emotional guts are hanging out, tell me which band-aid will work best for you?

The god of this world blinds the minds of men lest they should receive the glorious gospel. Beloved, the shunning of a Bible-based guide allows false liberty to gain momentum. This world’s god hates our God and His Son, Jesus Christ. Yes, the compassionate, loving, redeeming, rescuing, Savior and Friend is the object of cultural resentment. On a cross He went, to rise again. His resurrected self is the brunt of contemporary attack.

“Let’s kill Him again, and again, and again,” comes from behind the scenes of deceived men and women. They cry out,“an affirmation or a stigma we do not want. We wanna do anything we please.”

We must learn to encourage ourselves, 7 times in a day.

Let’s finish (shudder). What can we do? Tim Keller said this in a nutshell: “We must learn to return, ourselves, bounce back, to joy, again and again. We must learn to encourage ourselves, 7 times in a day. We must do whatever it takes to continue in faith-rest, and keep going. Second we must learn to suffer well. We must love the Word, and not be offended. Courage from God’s throne of grace is a must. Third, we must build a theology on The Cross of Calvary and settle for nothing less.”

In summary, we Christians have not an easy road ahead. But, as the song goes, “Take heart my friend, the Lord is with us, and when our burdens become too great; we will hold up and help one another, with God’s love, with God’s grace.” Stay in your sub-culture of Love and Safety. Find the hurting and act again in love and compassion. They need us. Love Ya

Tom Sliva

Tom Sliva

Born in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, Pastor Sliva went to Bible college in Massachusetts at the Stevens School of the Bible in !982. He and his family moved to Baltimore in1987 to be a part of Greater Grace World Outreach. From there, he served in Prescott, Arizona, and Indianapolis, Ind. Ordained upon his return to Baltimore in 1995, Pastor Sliva was afflicted with brain cysts in the late 90's and stayed at home base until his recovery in 2002. He then assisted with ministries in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh before resettling in Baltimore due to his son's sudden illness and death. Pastor Sliva is a colon cancer survivor. He has been part of the Pastoral Care Team since 2008 and leads the Grief Share group at Greater Grace Church. Read more from Pastor Sliva on his blog Healing at the Cross.
Tom Sliva

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