articlesqa August 09, 2015 christian culture racism
Ifeoluwapo Eleyinafe Article by Ifeoluwapo EleyinafeCreator and author of thinkheaven.com
Sub­sume your cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty to your re­la­tion­ship with God.

How Cul­ture Forms Iden­ti­ty

Very of­ten peo­ple di­vide them­selves along cul­tur­al lines. It usu­al­ly works like this: First I re­al­ize that I am born into a par­tic­u­lar cul­ture. That means I do things like this, like that and not like that. This cul­ture, as we have dis­cussed be­fore, is my wall. This cul­ture helps to de­fine my iden­ti­ty. To fur­ther ce­ment this iden­ti­ty, I find oth­er peo­ple who think like me and act like me and I form a com­mu­ni­ty with them. They es­sen­tial­ly be­come, in a sense, my church. Every cul­ture comes with a men­tal­i­ty or ap­proach to en­gag­ing the world be­cause of how they see them­selves in it. Some cul­tures, have through a lot of op­pres­sion from oth­er cul­tures, ac­quired an “us against the world” men­tal­i­ty. This men­tal­i­ty is a part of their cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty. Some cul­tures through op­pres­sion of oth­er cul­tures have ac­quired a men­tal­i­ty of su­pe­ri­or­i­ty.

What then does this mean for a Chris­t­ian who is also a part of a cul­ture? For ex­am­ple, what does it mean to be a Chris­t­ian who is also Yoru­ba? Or a Chris­t­ian ath­lete? Or a Chris­t­ian artist and so on and so on? Ath­letes gen­er­al­ly have to be­have one way and some­times their Chris­tian­i­ty may con­flict with their be­hav­ior in the ath­lete cul­ture. The same goes for sci­en­tists and artists and so on. As you can see, there ap­pears to be a con­flict. Is it true then that you have to choose your Chris­tian­i­ty or your cul­ture?

Chris­t­ian > Cul­ture

There is a con­flict be­tween my re­la­tion­ship with God and all oth­er things that strive to be the root of my iden­ti­ty. But it is not a zero sum game where God wins and your cul­ture has to go and vice ver­sa. In­stead, it is a lord­ship, king of the hill kind of game. It is not that I must choose to be a Chris­t­ian or an ath­lete. It is that I must choose to be a Chris­t­ian first be­fore I choose to be any­thing else. My re­la­tion­ship with God al­ways has to come first. Let us re­mem­ber that all cul­tures, ide­olo­gies and oth­er sources of iden­ti­ty not sub­mit­ted to God will fail. When they fail, the per­son who has found­ed his iden­ti­ty on these things will be swept away Matt 7:26-27. He will lose his or her iden­ti­ty.

If you are a Chris­t­ian and you are striv­ing to make your re­la­tion­ship with God the source of your iden­ti­ty then sub­mis­sion to God is your cen­tral goal John 14:15. This means that God is your cen­ter. This means that every oth­er role or cul­ture con­tributes to your iden­ti­ty only to help ce­ment your re­la­tion­ship with God. It also means that if any part of your cul­ture con­tra­dicts your re­la­tion­ship with God, then you ei­ther have to find a com­pro­mise that keeps God as Lord or leave that part of your cul­ture com­plete­ly be­hind.

How It Can Play Out

Image Source: https://listverse.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/iStock-173624857.jpg
Con­sid­er if a black Chris­t­ian met a white Chris­t­ian. They’re both be­liev­ers in the Lord but there is a his­to­ry of overt and sub­tle op­pres­sion be­tween their two cul­tures. Yet they are both first and fore­most Chris­t­ian. What does this mean? Well God or­ders us to bear one an­oth­er’s bur­dens, to mourn with those who mourn and re­joice with those who re­joice Gal 6:2, Rom 12:15, Col 3:13. If God is my Lord, then I as a white Chris­t­ian, be­cause I want to main­tain my re­la­tion­ship with God, will seek to feel the pain of my black broth­er and rec­og­nize the un­just dis­par­i­ty be­tween how the world treats us. If God is my Lord, then I as his black broth­er will strive to con­stant­ly and pa­tient­ly for­give my broth­er for any mis­con­cep­tions he has while guid­ing him into a greater un­der­stand­ing of who I am in Je­sus. It means that I as a white Chris­t­ian will not be an­gry when my black broth­er makes as­sump­tions about my na­ture be­cause of my skin col­or. It means that I as his black broth­er will strive to trust him by open­ing up my heart and home to him.

Through pa­tience and love, both will reaf­firm to each oth­er that they are new crea­tures in Christ 2 Cor 5:16-18. They are not black or white. They are Chris­tians be­fore they are a part of any cul­ture. Note that this doesn’t mean a black Chris­t­ian gives up black cul­ture or a white Chris­t­ian gives up white cul­ture. But it does mean that both the black Chris­t­ian and the white Chris­t­ian bring their cul­ture into sub­mis­sion to their re­la­tion­ship with Je­sus Christ. They will there­fore, put to death any part of their cul­ture that does not hon­or Christ and make ser­vants of those parts of their cul­ture that do (hon­or Christ).

Af­ter all, the most im­por­tant thing is not to be white or to be black but to be Chris­t­ian through re­la­tion­ship with God Luke 10:20,42. Be­cause Paul was Chris­t­ian first and Jew sec­ond, he was able to reach out with the love of the gospel to many peo­ple Rom 1:16, 10:12, 1 Cor 9:20-22 in­clud­ing mas­ters and slaves Phile­mon 9-10, 15-17. We should all strive to do the same. Watch be­low to hear some­one who says all this bet­ter.

Hear This!

REAL LOVE
This se­ries of ar­ti­cles be­gan like an ide­o­log­i­cal tax­on­o­my. We ex­am­ined macro­scop­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics unique to false prophe­cies and ide­olo­gies so that their false­ness might be eas­i­ly iden­ti­fied. We then placed these false ide­olo­gies un­der a mi­cro­scope to demon­strate the in­di­vid­ual atoms of moral­i­ty com­pos­ing them. Armed with knowl­edge of these in­vari­ants, it should now be eas­i­er to iden­ti­fy false ide­olo­gies and de­vel­op strate­gies to es­cape their grasp. For ex­am­ple, by con­stant­ly re­mem­ber­ing that all hu­man be­ings must be val­ued ac­cord­ing to Christ’s Atone­ment for their sins, ...
night from the swarmMarch 26, 2020
There is a great book by a broth­er in whose fam­i­ly I do not de­serve to be­long called The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship. The book lays out what we eas­i­ly for­get as The Church of Je­sus Christ: the cost of dis­ci­ple­ship is de­nial of one­self so that I can be like Je­sus Christ. We lay down our lives be­cause He Laid down His Own. He Of­fers us His Body and Blood and we of­fer to Him our body and blood. The cost of dis­ci­ple­ship is the price of love. Even when the price is high, it is an easy de­ci­sion. So please go and read The Cost of Dis­ci­ple­ship by broth­er Di­et­rich Bon­ho­ef­fer. These se­ries of ar­ti­cles deal with dis­c...
a disciple is notMarch 06, 2018
When an­swer­ing any ques­tion, you must con­sid­er the space of rea­son and imag­i­na­tion the ques­tion is invit­ing you to en­ter. This par­tic­u­lar ques­tion is about . It in­vites you to imag­ine your self in the place of Abra­ham and asks you to con­sid­er whether you would do as Abra­ham did. The ques­tion then is dan­ger­ous be­cause: 1 You can­not ap­prox­i­mate Abra­ham by your imag­i­na­tion. You did not walk away from 70 years of idol­a­try among a na­tion of idol wor­shipers to wor­ship The Liv­ing God in a for­eign land. You did not wait till you were al­most dead for the child that God Promised you. You don’t know what th...
Would you sacrifice your child if God asked you to?September 15, 2020

“Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” - Colossians 2:3

AboutContact