Here in Africa, we all live according to traditions and customs we were raised by, and we have always accepted it as the norm. We live by culturally acceptable molds set by our parents/grandparents and society, which, unfortunately, we are passing on to our children. My challenge today, therefore, is on culture, is it working, do we want our children living that way? Is there a more excellent way?
What is culture?
The ideas, customs, and social behavior of a particular people or society – Oxford Dictionary
In 1986, philosopher Edward S. Casey wrote, “The very word culture meant ‘place tilled’ in Middle English, and the same word goes back to Latin colere, ‘to inhabit, care for, till, worship’ and cultus, ‘A cult, especially a religious one.’ To be cultural, to have a culture, is to inhabit a place sufficiently intensive to cultivate it—to be responsible for it, to respond to it, to attend to it caringly.”- Wikipedia
Going by the Oxford Dictionary’s definition, we have been living based on man’s ideas, customs, and acceptable behavior. It can, therefore, be changed.
With culture, according to Wikipedia, humanity was successfully able to build and adapt in class systems. People who had high cultural values were the elite, and others who had low cultural values were the lower class. People would also mention culture when they referred to body modifications, clothing, or jewelry.
Edward Casey’s definition caught my attention because it talks about religion or sects, but brings in a biblical comparison. God created man to do on the earth, to inhabit and sufficiently cultivate it. So, how did the extras come about? I would say the fall of man, in the beginning.
The fall of man brought with it separation over time from God, the creator. He created humanity for a purpose, but as both parties gradually separated, the man had to devise means to operate above the animals. He had no access to God, so over time, he became God. Mere men sat down and held meetings, creating rules and plans for people to live and thrive by to ensure the success, prosperity, and peace of the human race. Over time, these cultural values placed by our ancestors and government have failed and moved us further away from the plan God had for humankind.
So there is a plan for all humanity, each with his/her pre-destined path from the Almighty. We were expected to take on specific roles in ignorance, and when we failed to fit into the mold built by man, we were cast off as failures. As a woman, I was raised to be a ‘good’ girl, a ‘successful’ adult, a ‘good’ wife, and then a ‘good’ mother.
I have come to learn that man’s definitions of good, and success do not give peace, happiness, or freedom. So, I turned to God, my Father, who accepts me for who I am, who loves me regardless and who is teaching and instructing me in the way I should go. With Him, there is peace, joy, and freedom, irrespective of the negative people around me, and the circumstances I find myself.
No, I will not teach my daughter to live according to the prevalent culture and traditions of man. I will introduce her to my Father, to Jesus, His Son, who died for us and to the Holy Spirit, our Spiritual guide on this adventure called life. Together, we will seek to find and know the path He has pre-ordained for her before she was born.
So what are the challenges for today?
- What is culture to you?
- As a Christian, are you living by human-made rules or by the word of God for you?
- Search yourself and find out what completes you as a human being and what gives you peace
- As a child of God, what are you passing on to your children and grandchildren, lessons learned from God or the cultural values passed down by our parents and society?
- For this month, write down the cultural values you live by and see how they correspond to God’s word for your life.
Till. Next time, be transformed!!