More Than… In Life, Love, and the Hereafter - Culture
ABCDE... To be MORE THAN In life, love, and the hereafter - Never be Less Than. We can never settle for being less than we can be - or less than God intended that we be. To be MORE THAN in life, love and the hereafter - Two Are be Better Than One. It will take the help and support of a prayer partner, a trusted friend, a good brother or sister in Christ. To be MORE THAN in life, love and the hereafter - Conquering Won't Always Look Like Winning.
[quotes about culture]
The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.
- Karl Marx
A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Is adult entertainment killing our children? or is killing our children entertaining our adults?
- Marilyn Manson
Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.
- Alan Ginsberg
Our culture runs on coffee and gasoline, the first often tasting like the second.
- Edward Abbey
[culture]: the customs, arts, social institutions, and achievements of a particular nation, people, or other social group - the attitudes and behavior characteristic of a particular social group - modern popular culture transmitted via the mass media and aimed particularly at younger people.
[culture 2]: an umbrella term encompassing the social behavior and norms found in human societies, as influenced and constructed by the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, customs, capabilities and habits of the individuals in these societies and or communities.
[culture key words]: Illusion - Delusion - Influence - Isolation - Community - Insecurity - Identity
[biblical truth and culture]:
Save, O LORD, for the godly one is gone; for the faithful have vanished from among the children of man. 2 Everyone utters lies to his neighbor; with flattering lips and a double heart they speak. 3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, the tongue that makes great boasts, 4 those who say, “With our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is master over us?” 5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.” 6 The words of the LORD are pure words, like silver refined in a furnace on the ground, purified seven times. 7 You, O LORD, will keep them; you will guard us from this generation forever.
In 2016, Oxford dictionaries choice for "word of the year" was post-truth. I know it's two words. But... it is what they call a compound modifier. A word made up of two words that work together to function like one adjective. When you connect words with the hyphen, you make it clear to readers that the words work together as a singular meaning. Anyway, Oxford revealed the word had shown a 2000% lexicon increase in usage during the year. The word was used overwhelmingly to describe the American culture as a ‘post-truth’ culture. Meaning simply this; US culture/society were now less influenced by objective facts than they were appeals to their emotion. Data supported a greater tolerance and connection to dishonest, inaccurate claims. Trending was a digital menu of surreal and virtual experiences engineered to stimulate preferred emotion and feeling. Ironically, the same culture who coined the hashtag "just bein' real" became the first American culture to consume and fund a multi-billion dollar industry of reality avoidance and factual irrelevance. The criteria for truth established merely by its ability to make one feel good about how one felt. To accommodate a cultural appetite of that magnitude emotive truth had to casually and comfortably become the new normal. Of course we know that is a certain contradiction to Biblical truth and it is not MORE THAN - it is LESS THAN.
2 Timothy 4:3-5
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
In these two instructional warnings the writer (Paul) describes a culture who has settled for less-than the truth and not demanded more-than a lie. The results are painfully predictable. Jesus gives clear example of exchanging the truth of God for the traditions of man in a very direct exchange with the original "LESS-THAN" culture.
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat.” 3 Jesus answered, “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ 5 But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” 6 he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God. 7 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
[culture - context]
So where does this place us in this struggle to be MORE THAN and never LESS THAN? First, we need to know that we are in a good place because we are in Him who loves us. So no matter what kind of culture we find ourselves surrounded by we are not overwhelmed and overcome - we are always MORE THAN a LESS THAN culture. Secondly, we must know with all certainty that any culture that does not acknowledge God, or allow its people to freely worship God as its ultimate truth and moral authority cannot rightly and justly govern its people to become MORE THAN. History has tried that and each time became LESS THAN.
Finally, In a media-dominant culture we have many voices that are continuously streamed to us through various platforms; TV, radio, Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, email and text message - all telling us who we are, and what to believe. We have the voices of family, friends, communities and colleagues - telling us who we are, and what to believe. And sometimes we even have the voice of Satan (more on him next week) tempting us to distrust and disbelieve God’s word - to doubt that God has our best interests and outcomes at heart. Why would God? How could a God? What kind of God? Where was God? If there truly was a God, wouldn't that God? All of this LESSER-THAN narrative creates the anxiety and expectation of the post-truth culture of agnostics [people who believe that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena]. Mostly bitter, broken, bound and alone (even with access to others). Being in the darkness of disbelief and traveling the path of aloneness is always painful and definitively LESSER THAN. To navigate through and away from this, to become MORE THAN in spite of a LESSER-THAN culture, we listen for one voice. Jesus said...
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father's hand.
When we Get it, we are MORE THAN and never LESS-THAN and that is Good.
[culture - takeaways]
To Be More Than in Our Culture We Know Who God Is
And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.
To Be More Than in Our Culture We Know Who We Are - In Him
Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. 4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! 5 For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
To Be More Than in Our Culture - Truth is Our Culture, Culture is Not Our Truth
1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
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