Culture…a :the integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief, and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations. (Merriam Webster)

I do wonder at times due to the events of our recent days if maybe we as Christians are failing to meet the definition as written.   Continuing from Merriam….. The customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group; also :the characteristic features of everyday existence (such as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time. It continues on with the following. The set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization a corporate culture focused on the bottom line the set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic. To make this simple we could say it’s about “who we are and what we believe.”

There can be no doubt that over the years the way we do church has more and more been defined by the culture of the society we are living in at the moment. Church today has little if any influence in our society as it scrambles to establish relevancy in today’s world. Christian faith has always had a of set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes and sets it apart. Yes, you could say there is a “church culture” and it is changing. We see every day how the influence of societal changes are responsible for the changing church culture, those things we hold to be emblematic of christian faith and behavior. Would it be proper to state that we as Christians have a responsibility to influence “church” culture, not the excessive swings of societal pressure that drive the culture outside the church?

Let’s go back a few years, really? Is this going to be another story about how I walked two miles to school in all kinds of weather and had cardboard in my shoes to cover the holes in the soles? No, but it is about a time when Biblical values, established by the “word” were common place in our society. Our culture (church) was a major factor in the formation of society’s culture. Some of you will remember, there were no stores open on Sunday, that included gas stations. There was no need for a movie rating system that had more than three labels. Nudity was consigned to under the counter or, if on display in the magazine rack, had a brown cover over it. I could list a lot more things but the point is that culture changes and it is usually people driven. The big difference was these were not the norm of the day and usually stayed in the dark recesses of the day.

It is here that I began to struggle and have a hard time trying to express my line of thought. As a layman if you are not careful, you can be caught up in a web of doctrinal beliefs that can be confusing to most of us in the pew. Here is my dilemma. Doctrine, what exactly does that mean? Better still, what is this doctrine?

a: particular principle, position, or policy taught or advocated, as of a religion or government: Catholic doctrines; the Monroe Doctrine. 2. something that is taught; teachings collectively: religious doctrine.

What is church doctrine?

1. church doctrine – the written body of teachings of a religious group that are generally accepted by that group. religious doctrine, creed, gospel. … doctrine, ism, philosophical system, philosophy, school of thought – a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school.

What are the 22 doctrines of the Bible? Whoa, where did that come from?

The church lists 22 doctrines of their beliefs: the Holy Bible, the Godhead, Virgin birth of Christ, total depravity, Repentance, Restitution, Justification, Water baptism, Lord’s supper, Sanctification, Holy Ghost baptism, Redemption, Personal evangelism, Marriage, Rapture, Resurrection of the Dead, Great Tribulation, …
Deeper Christian Life Ministry – Wikipedia

I believe that doctrine has been modified in some areas due to the ever-changing pressures of societal cultural changes. What do you think? I believe we as the church have allowed the pressures of cultural correctness to impede our defense of the faith.

The Bible is a collection of sacred texts or scriptures that Jews and Christians consider to be a product of divine inspiration and a record of the relationship between God and humans. Many different authors contributed to the Bible. (Wikipedia)

The church has become a victim of the “The Culture Trap.” If you have decided that I am “old school”, you would be correct. Yes I understand that there is a whole field of academics, theologians and others who have spent a life time studying the meaning and intent of the scripture as written. Here in the pew things are a lot simpler. We are limited to what we read and hear, trusting those sources to be correct and it is only when we return to the written word, seeking guidance by praying and letting the Holy Spirit lead us that we are at peace with an issue. I could stumble from point to point all day long, however it is time to wrap this up. We people of the church have allowed this “culture thing” inside and outside to become a distraction that weakens the faith and marginalize the true calling of God’s people. We must stop looking to the current direction of societal culture or changing “church” culture to be relevant with the direction of the society we live in. SO WHAT DO WE DO?…….

Micah 6:8

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.

How do I do that…….Each must answer that on their own, me I will do the following. Pray, seek the Holy Spirit, read and study God’s word, always searching for the “Good Way.”

Be back in the Pew next week….Stop by

Life is Good