Every culture has its unique traditions and practices. Some may be how people eat or eat certain things; others are events they may practice on a regular basis. The word culture has its root meaning from the idea of cultivating; like a vegetable garden that takes time to cultivate and grow, so are the cultures we live in. Each of our cultures have sown and cultivated customs, practices, and even beliefs into their social structure. Each of us is a product of the culture we were raised in. Within our culture we build strong bonds and may even defend it by giving our loyalty to it. Actually, it can become a big part of our identity. We will say I am a German, or Swiss, or American, or Ghanaian, or English, etc.
Cultures are not bad or wrong. Actually it was God who divided the human race into cultures in Genesis 10. Humanity was attempting to unite people in order to show its power and a unity in the world. God knew that a united humanity could also be used to strengthen and unite the evil imagination of human hearts, so He divided the human race (Acts 17:24-26). Cultures were designed by God to point us back to Him and our need to be united in Him. When we leave God out of our cultures, they can create negative traits, like prejudice, superiority, special rights, and many other attributes that end up making strong divisions among people.
God has created a distinct family on earth that is given a citizenship not of this world. This people, known as the people of God or God’s family, encompass people from all cultures and nationalities. Everyone enters God’s family the same way … through faith in the saving work of Jesus Christ.
As God’s people we now are called to go back into our own cultures with a new identity … as God’s ambassadors representing His interest and priorities. We are given a new way of life to practice, one that will probably conflict with some of our earthly culture. Why? Because now what unites us is entirely different from our earthly customs and traditions. Though we live in our particular cultures, we now bring into them new values, beliefs and practices that can uniquely shape and influence them.
The airline industry is also a unique culture of its own. It is an international connection of people, a traveling community that speaks a common language with terms and practices that are distinctly airline. This unique culture also needs Christians who understand that though they wear a particular uniform or ID, they ultimately represent someone much greater than their upper management. As God’s ambassadors they represent a different way of life at work; one that brings Christ’s influence to the people and circumstances of work. What about you … how are you shaping and influencing the cultures God has placed you in?