Church Culture II

Aspects of Culture – There are many aspects of culture both in society as a whole and in smaller groups such as corporations, social clubs, and churches. Here I take a look at just a few of these items and how they relate to society in general. How do these cultural maters affect the church?

  • Language – One of the most obvious aspects of culture, and one which is often the most sensitive. French have a gov’t bureau to protect theirs; we have a constant issue about English as national language; Canada has areas where signs must be in French – no English allowed. The church, of course, has its own vocabulary.
  • Art and literature – Very often the morality of a nation is seen through its art and literature, including music. Especially, but not exclusively, music has been an ongoing battlefield for many churches over the past twenty years or so.
  • Technology – Very often our obsession with our technologies will say a lthot about our culture. During the decades of the Soviet Empire, their only technological growth was in those areas which provided military applications, including the launch of Sputnik in 1955. Other areas suffered (medicine, agriculture, etc). How does your congregation employ technology?
  • Dress – How people dress does help to give understanding to the moral health of a nation – or congregation. My wife refers to the church as the “mudroom to heaven.” How do we dress as we prepare to enter the church? How does the pastor/preacher/presenter/facilitator (we see a cultural issue right there) dress?
  • Law – Homosexual marriage; state-sponsored gambling; marijuana laws all affect the entire nation and conflict many church groups. How does the church relate to the society? This affects the internal workings of the church, not just its relationship with the culture-at-large.
  • Relationships – How we treat one another. Battle of the sexes – at the same time as the sexual revoltion. Hip Hop demeaning women; racial tensions continue. Do these attitudes get carried into your congregation?
  • Communication – How do we communicate? Important field of studies with departments at many major universities. The big publication in this field was “The Medium is the Message” by Marshall McLuhan (though it was many years ago). He introduced the idea of a global village as a result of communication technology (like the fax machine. This was the 1960s. Anything by McLuhan is worth reading, BTW. He actually coined the term “media.” This is one of the most fascinating aspects of culture to me. It is very important in the culture of the church. How do we communicate with one another?

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