In my childhood culture was a word in my Ukrainian world, not my everyday world. Dancing, folk music, Christmas traditions, gatherings, history, was all culture. This was what was being preserved as a kind of national truth, to be implanted back when the fatherland was rid of the communist occupiers. I guess it was like a plant that needed sustaining in case it could be returned.
Getting to appreciate Shakespeare and Wilfrid Owen, alongside Pink Floyd and Bob Dylan, helped me to appreciate there were other cultures, and I was free to access these as well. And then the Bible came into 3D living reality, alongside a Jesus centred-faith.
I realise now that what was happening was culture was becoming something that expressed reality – platform shoes, punk rock, miner’s strikes – though not everything was to be associated with. It wasn’t something to keep pickled, but something to create, try out, a means of finding and expressing the truth.
Knowing God through Jesus, and having a walking relationship with the Holy Spirit (as individuals and church) we are inevitably culture changers. It’s not something we should do by being holy preservers, but transforming seasoners. I think, when Paul looked at the church, and reminded them that their God was able to do much more than they could think or imagine, it was as a means for practical personal, local and national change.
I’m not saying we need to start planning for this. I mean we need to recognise this is what God is up to, and join in simply and wholeheartedly.