Summary: Was Jesus culturally relevant? Should we try to be or is it a better "witness" if we distance ourselves from "worldliness"?

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Dakota Community Church

June 1, 2008

Culture Shock

I don’t know if I am just too easily amused or what; but I find the study of people, relationships, and group dynamics to be simply fascinating. Those things that we all share, the cultural norms, the humor, the acceptable and unacceptable behaviors, the politics and most of all the Christian slant that gets added to all of it, I love it.

Let me try out a few pop cultural references on you to see if you can identify them; first from television: “Eat my shorts”, “Master of your domain”, “Make it so”, and “Dunder Mifflin”, any of those recognizable to you?

What about a few business references? Can you name the company that claims their product is the; “Real Thing”? Who tells us we should; “Just Do It”? Who asks the pointed question; “Is It In You?” and who said more than enough with “Muffle Tuff Wuffy?” Who had young men asking each other “Whazzzzzzuuuupppp?” for about two years in the 1990’s?

Definition – What is culture?

A culture is a way of life of a group of people--the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one person and one generation to the next.

There are different cultures within different groups of humanity and these differences can be a source of diversity and strength or of prejudice and violence. It is often said that while the United States embraces a melting pot view of culture, Canada has chosen a multi-cultural route that encourages new comers to cherish and preserve their unique heritages. There is no end to the fighting that can go on over the strengths and weaknesses of these to view points. Suffice it to say that there are differences and often we feel that our way is the best way and everyone else should embrace our wisdom.

Examples of cultural differences: Mainstream North American Culture vs. Other Cultures

1. Sense of self and space Informal, Handshake - Formal Hugs, bowing

2. Communication Emphasis on content - Emphasis on context

3. Dress Wide range accepted - Sign of position or religious rules

4. Eating a necessity--fast food - A social experience, religious rules

5. Time Promptness time=money – Elastic, enjoyment of relationships

6. Relationships Focus on nuclear family - Focus on extended family

7. Age Value on youth – Value on age and experience

8. Gender Equality - Different roles for men and women

Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

In light of all this cultural talk, what does it mean not to conform?

What is the pattern of this world that is being referred to here?

Do we obey this scripture by not listening to certain styles of music or by not watching certain television shows?

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