This article explores how the term culture has been misused in society and what kingdom citizens can do to reclaim it for the kingdom.
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Although the term culture has been applied in many different ways throughout history. What specifically concerns me about its use today is the way it is applied to the worst aspects of our society. A day doesn't go by without hearing reporters talking about the music, gangs, guns and knives culture plaguing our lands.
This seems a far cry from the meaning of the word which originally sprung up from the desire to bring the best rather than the worst out of society.
A brief history lesson helps us to understand that the word 'culture' comes from the Latin cultus, which means 'care', and from the French colere which means 'to till' as in 'till the ground'. So culture means to care for that which comes from the ground.
The word horticulture comes from Latin and means 'garden cultivation.' and refers to small-scale gardening. Agriculture on the other hand describes the practice of growing crops on a larger scale. The word agriculture also comes from Latin and means “agri,” or 'field,' whilst cultura means 'cultivation.' and refers to cultivating a piece of land.
During the 16th century in England, the idea of nurturing the growth of something was applied to the development of human beings, especially the mind or intellect of an individual. This idea focused upon the refinement of citizens through the vision of national aspirations, ideals and educational institutions.
A brief review of the history of the word highlights how much it has been misused in our modern day language. I would even go as far as to say that the news shines a light on areas of our country where the nation's aspirations and ideals are NOT being cultivated. In short the rise of crime reveals a vacuum and lack of culture not the development of subcultures.
So what’s gone wrong?
Why are we associating words which are contrary to one another? Why do associate rape with culture when the crime contradicts the spirit of the word?
I believe this comes down to a lack of national vision and purpose. A rejection of definitions and boundaries. Irresponsibility as stewards and an unwillingness to patiently grow our society.
In other words, the failure stems from a poverty in the soul which sources from our Adamic history, heritage and inheritance. If we agree with the account in Genesis, we would accept that rather than cultivating a godly life of fruitfulness, multiplication and dominion. We have in fact inherited an empty life filled with sin, sweat and toil, culminating in the awful discovery that at the end of our labour is death.
Throughout history all nations have been given the opportunity to rise up and possess the dominion mandate only to fail by coming up short in fruitfulness. Hence for us to truly fulfill our call, we must accept that to be fruitful requires us to recognise we were created to manifest godliness, not sinfulness. Upon this premise, we are to work to see the multiplication of the likeness of God in all our affairs so that we might see the dominion of God from generation to generation.
This is why for those who have repented, Jesus's words in John chapter 15:1-8 pays dividends.
Paul, the apostle who laboured more intently than others shared the same understanding stating in 1 Corinthians 3:6-9: “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s FIELD, God’s building”
We are provided with an example of Paul’s perspective and labours during his visit to Athens recorded in Acts 17:16. Whereby he saw the culture of Athenian society and was zealous to sow, cultivate and harvest souls driven by national aspirations and ideals for the kingdom of God. In Paul’s world the absence of godly culture in the world's societies pointed to an opportunity to cultivate God's society amongst men.
Before I close, I would like to encourage you to read Micah chapter 4 verse 1 to 3. Within the text the prophet witnesses the impact of God's authority, law and government upon the people. We witness people wholeheartedly receiving the Law of God and as a result putting down weapons and picking up tools for cultivating kingdom culture.
Seeing this, shouldn’t we be encouraged to strive in sharing the kingdom with street gangs who might also turn away from crime by building up rather than tearing down their communities.
Surely, good citizen, this high calling is one worth striving for?
For King and for country...