When Cultures Clash – Nov 2018

What jumps to the front of you mind when you think of cultures and cultures clashing? I’m guessing that you’re thinking of people from different nations and ethnic backgrounds. Canada is a country that celebrates multiculturalism. The Government of Canada website states: “Discover the significance of multiculturalism in Canada – ensuring that all citizens keep their identities, take pride in their ancestry and have a sense of belonging.” That doesn’t necessarily mean that cultures won’t clash or that there isn’t a Canadian culture that exists on its own. Even with a multicultural ideal, there are ways in which Canadian culture has developed that will clash with cultures of other nations and ethnicities.

Cultures have been clashing from the beginning of time. Oxforddictionaries.com defines culture as: “The ideas, customs, and social behaviour of a particular people or society.” We need to recognize that a biblical, Christian culture (and there are varieties within that label) will at times clash with the Canadian culture we live in. We will differ in ideas, traditions and what should be considered acceptable behaviour. Some things will be matters of opinion and style. We will see other ideas, customs and social behaviours as being the result of the entrenchment of sin in human society. You may not normally think of sin as cultural, but we have to admit to its impact on culture.

So, how should Christians deal with a clash of cultures? Wherever the culture you are in (especially considering the laws of the land), do not conflict with biblical Christian beliefs and principles, then you must submit to governing authorities (Ro. 13:1-7; 1 Pe. 2:13-17). We need to be praying for people in authority with the express purpose of living peaceful, godly lives and that Christians be free to share the gospel so that people may be saved (including people in authority) (1 Ti. 2:1-14, Pr. 21:1). We should do our best to live the culture of the Kingdom of God before others and be ambassadors reaching out to those caught in the world’s culture (2 Co. 5:16-21). While we should use our democratic freedom to vote in favour of politicians who also promote policies that align with our culture, we do not condemn those who are outside of the Kingdom of God but instead reach out to them with the love, grace and mercy of God (Jn. 3:16-17; 2 Co. 5:19). Ambassadors cannot really dictate to another nation as to how they live their culture, but ambassadors can try to show others the culture they are from and hopefully positively influence the other culture and people they are living with.

While I am speaking this month about some specific cultural clashes that I believe the Kingdom of God has with the kingdoms of this world and specifically Canada, I trust that what I have written above is also kept in mind.

Journeying with you,

Pastor Merril

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