Monday, April 21, 2008

Culture: Understanding culture's place in my life

It is funny how I see my truth as God's right perspective of His Kingdom when in fact it is just me looking at the world/God's Kingdom through the glasses of my culture. Through the past couple of years the Lord has been pressing me as a result of my culture clashing with Polish culture to find Him in the midst.
One of the things I realized is that I couldn't really know & understand the effects of my culture, beliefs and values on my thinking, behavior and even my understanding of God until I could embrace the good, bad and the ugly of another culture. It all began a couple of years ago when I was going through Rick Warren's Purpose Driven Life. There was one statement that got under my skin. He mentioned that, whatever you are passionate about today will become a part of who you are in 20 years. It is at that time that I had been ministering in Poland for 20 years. It was at that moment I got a bit scared. I felt a small voice scream in side my heart,"Oh no Lord...I don't want to be Polish!" And then I had to ask myself why not. What was I so afraid of?
It was in that process that I realized that I was seeing the unredeemed Poland, it's people and it's culture through the glasses of my unredeemed American glasses. Then I prayed that the Lord would work into me the redeemed qualities of Polish culture. That somehow through the work of Christ's blood it would transform those things that I was afraid of becoming into the very character of Jesus that only the Polish people can truly represent well.

Isaiah 45:22-23 "Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other...Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess and give praise to God."

As I looked at these verses I realized that each people group and their culture represented an aspect of God's imagine that could not be complete without them. I saw in a much deeper way just how important not only our uniqueness as individuals is but also as separate cultures. And just like individuals our cultures have been corrupted by sin and no longer reflect the true and uncompromised character of the King.

Jesus is calling me to submit all of me...including my culture to Him and the working of His Holy Spirit. I believe that when I really allow Jesus to work in me in this way I'm not only transformed into His imagine but the reflection of Him within my life will reveal the redeemed elements of my culture. My Swedish/French American, Polish culture.

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