It's a thing that I've lived, eaten, dreamed, studied, hated, wrestled with, and/or ignored in varying degrees for more than a decade now.
I've wanted to run away from it at times.
I've pretended it didn't exist, just so I wouldn't have to deal with it again.
Being a student of culture and all that means has it's advantages, though.
It's allowed me to question the culture of my birth, to search with an open mind and wonder whether the things that were as natural as breathing to me were really true or not.
We all assume our culture is right, that everything we've been raised with is Truth.
This daily study, these ponderings have pushed me to a realization that no culture is perfect.
We are groups of sinful people with bits of Truth, but none of us live in a completely Christ-honoring culture.
That's hard to swallow.
Another lesson I've learned through my strugglings with culture is that all cultures are continually changing.
Culture isn't a stagnant thing.
Things I remember about America from my growing up years are no longer the same.
In the 11 1/2 years I've lived in Ghana things haven't stayed the same here either.
Cultures can be misunderstood.
But through these hard learned lessons, I've grabbed onto something liberating.
There is one culture that I have direct impact on, a culture where I do get to see Truth lived out daily, if I am willing.
That's our family culture.
Maybe it sounds odd to say a family has a culture, but 'culture' is simply the ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.
It is a 'way of life,' 'habits,' 'customs,' a 'heritage,' 'traditions.'
And I get to choose what my family culture looks like.
Not only do I get a choice about what our family culture will be, but I must choose rightly, because if I don't, then the popular culture that surrounds my family will take over.
It will become my family's culture by default.
Pop culture has a way of seeping in the cracks, slipping in through a door left open just a sliver, sneaking in when no one is watching, disguising itself as "just how things are."
It doesn't have to be that way.
I can choose to be the keeper of my home, the oikouros, the guard.
I can look to the One who is Truth to be my guide.
I can fight the destruction of my culture today by firmly refusing to accept what the world around me has to offer.
I can slam the door on filth, mindlessness, lust, hardness, fear, despair, pride, and laziness and
invite beauty, creativity, love, kindness, faith, hope, humility, and diligence into my home.
I can be a culture-transformer.
When I choose to transform my family's culture into one that glorifies God, the effects don't stop with my family.
They ripple outward like the proverbial stone thrown into the pond.
They touch my children's children...
the strangers I meet.
My family culture can change the world.
* A few photos of important parts of our family's culture ~ exploring God's creation, the written word, music, working together, real food, art, and living books.