Culture necessitates a community. By definition, a culture only exists because of shared practices, values, and traditions. From the smallest tribal cultures to the cultural narratives of a nation, a culture has to have a collective identity, one passed on from generation to generation.
For instance, no one person is Texan. The culture of Texas is a shared identity, a compilation of the styles and norms of millions of Texans. We receive, share, and embody our culture, but no one person can own the entire culture.
Through our series “Culture Making,” we have learned how following Jesus calls us to live differently. By following Jesus, we become part of the remaking of culture. As Christians we bring beauty, love, grace, and truth to a world that can be full of tragedy, pain, hurt, and deception.
The work of remaking culture is a beautiful and faithful expression of one’s faith and love for Jesus. But, we are prone to try to do this alone. We believe the the Christian life is an individual assent. It becomes about my life, my choices, and my faith.
Remember, culture necessitates a community. So following Jesus, that is embodying the culture of the Kingdom of God, also necessitates a community. We are better together. We are not meant to exist in isolation. So as we follow Jesus, as we embrace the Christian life, let us do it together. We acknowledge we need each other. We seek the betterment of each other. We are vulnerable and let others know our joy and sorrow.
The culture of the Kingdom of God is broader and bigger than any culture you can fathom. The church is not limited by geography, language, ethnicity, or gender. Embracing the culture of following Jesus isn’t about your career, economic status, or education. The culture we are making together is a wild tapestry where all people are coming together and making something more beautiful than we could ever imagine. So as we join together as the church and seek to be culture-makers, we are part of the redemption of the whole world.
As Christians we declare: “There is a reality that is more important than the culture to which we belong. It is God and the new world that God is creating, a world in which people from every nation and every tribe, with their cultural goods, will gather around the triune god, a world in which every tear will be wiped away and ‘pain will be no more’ (Revelation 21:3).”*
*Mirslav Volf, Exclusion and Embrace, pg. 50-51