I always knew that my parents had an interesting take on the world. I spent my formative years in Oregon but both of my parents grew up in the Southwest (Texas and Oklahoma). Both were youngsters during the Great Depression. Both came from very poor, large, but self-sufficient families. Mom spoke about how, as a young girl, she would lead all of her younger siblings out into the pastures to gather up dried cow patties for winter fuel. Dad let it be known that the family was not above poaching the occasional steer in order to feed six brothers, his mom and his dad.
Even at a very young age I realized that there was a disconnect between the world in which I lived and the world inside my home. These were radically different cultures that met, and sometimes clashed, in the person of my young self. The language was similar, the nation the same, but the cultures were worlds apart. Let me illustrate with one example;
Those that I knew in the state of my youth were open and friendly. But, you could only burrow so deep relationally . . this might be seen as shallow. Maybe it was because I was a young male but it was nothing like the culture of my family. Also, Oregon was known as a snob state and we were proud of it. Most of the institutes of higher education were politically a little left of chairman Mao, it is even worse today.
By contrast, my familial culture makes and keeps friends across generations of time. Small towns tend to know everything there is to know about everyone. Texas, of course, is another snob state but in a different way. Besides, you dare not say it to their faces lest you want to fight it out. And politically they were conservative. My dad, back in the late sixties, would fuss about the creeping socialism taking over the country. He was not impressed with LBJ's Great Society.
I want to segue from this to an experience from the other night. The final Thursday of each month we take a break from our normal Bible Study routine and play a family friendly movie. This is open to the community as an outreach. Two ladies who take the Pierce Transit/ shuttle bus attended this particular night. This para-transit service provides door-to-door service for those who, for various health reasons, can not drive.
At the conclusion of the movie I heard the shuttle bus pull up and the driver trying a couple of doors on the chapel, looking for his passengers. So I went up to tell him that the ladies would be out in just a minute.
The driver told me, "This place really creeps me out."
I responded that the campus is not well lit, the mansion and chapel can be a little intimidating in the dark.
He replied, "I have a third eye, you know."
Unfazed I asked him, "Does that mean that you can see spirits?"
And he answered, "I can't see them but I can feel them when they're there. And I'm really creeped out."
So much for a third eye. But what has this to do with my childhood culture clashes? Just this, each of us sees the world through the lens that is our worldview. This is a metaphor for the emotional, physical, rational and spiritual components which make up who we are. Think of it as the mental baggage that we drag forward as we live our lives.
Our worldview is affected by what we learn, where we have grown up, how we were raised by family. It is shaped by the happenstances which occur in our lives. Our culture impinges upon and modifies this worldview. And, our physical/mental abilities or inabilities may impact it. Finally, what we decide . . or should I say, what we choose for this life plays a major role in forming our worldview.
We face many different, and exciting, cultures and worldviews today. Wrapped into each is an understanding and appreciation for God. The gamut runs from animistic to New Age, from eastern mythologies to western Christianities, from paganism to satanism and beyond. And there is a tendency, even an expectation, toward a synthesis of belief sets. We now have churches that custom design their worship from many different beliefs; wicken, new age, christian, islam, etc. Reader boards and church banners proclaim, "One God, Many Names."
But we should not be so cavalier with our Christian worldview. Remember, it is who we are and what we believe. And our worldview, because it is who we are, has eternal consequences. The apostle Paul speaks of this in promoting unity. It is here that we get a clear indication of the purpose of a truly Christian worldview. In his benediction in Romans 15 he writes,
It matters not from whence we came, it matters not to thence we go. It matters that we focus only on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
Learn more in the sermon series A Christian Worldview which began August 9th.