Culture’s a funny thing. You don’t really know it and can’t put language to it until you bump into it. For example: If you entered a room and did not know beforehand that everyone in that room was a Philadelphia Eagles fan and they’ve had the greatest year of football in their lives by winning the Super Bowl, even if they were talking about other things, you would still feel this commonality – something in this group that caused it to form and stay together.
Culture is collective. Each individual in the group contributes to this commonality, which is culture. Whether it’s allegiance to a football team or the way we talk to each other or how much experience we have, culture is collective. Culture’s also subtle. It’s not easily definable. You have to feel it. You can’t be told what the culture is. You have to understand it through experience.
Culture really is the essence of all the people in the room. Each one of us comes to a place where we bring certain characteristics and experiences and attitudes to the group. Whatever is the collective, common belief is what culture will be. Culture is always based on beliefs.
Let me put it in spiritual terms: Jesus said in John 13:35, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (NIV). Interesting, you will know they are His disciples by their love – not by their titles, not by their positions, not by who they are, but by what they do in terms of culture, which is the culture of love.
We’re called to live in a culture of love – to embrace each other, to encourage each other, to speak truth to each other, and to build into each life together. That Christian culture, Christian community, is the culture whose root cause is love. Christians look out for each other.
I think it’s time that we take a minute and think, What is the culture of our family? What is the culture of our church? because culture can also be influenced by negative things: a culture of gossip, a culture of meanness, or a culture of misunderstanding. But we are called clearly in Scripture to live in the culture of love.