The Tent: A safe place for shepherds to reflect together
RegisterRegister   Log inLog in 

Culture Creation

Post new topic   Reply to topic Forum Index -> Shepherd2Shepherd -> Culture Creation
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Site Admin

Joined: 12 Sep 2007
Posts: 41

PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 9:35 pm    Post subject: Culture Creation Reply with quote

Culture Creation

The more time I spend with different families, organizations, institutions, and societies, the more fascinated I become with what we call “culture.” Each group, no matter its size, reinforces its beliefs and behaviors in predictable and idiosyncratic ways.

I’m especially interested in the role of rules in proactive culture creation. I take my cue from Deuteronomy 4. In that chapter God describes his vision for a new community whose laws will awe the nations. The peoples will wonder both at the source of Israel’s righteous decrees and the divine presence that accompanies God’s people (Deut. 4:6-8). A Torah-shaped culture was to be their historic distinctive. God was determined to make His law unambiguously clear for His people and constantly before them.

For most of us, rules are not exciting. Necessary, but certainly not exciting. Yet the Bible presents God’s laws as more desirable than gold and sweeter than honey (Ps. 19.10). Psalm 119 overflows with passionate words of adulation for God’s ordinances, commands, precepts, decrees, and statutes, i.e., His Torah. “My soul is consumed with longing for your laws at all times… Your decrees are the theme of my song wherever I lodge…Though the wicked bind me with ropes, I will not forget your law” (Ps. 119:20, 54, 61). Wow.

How, we wonder, can anyone become so exhilarated by laws?

One answer is grounded in etymology. “Torah” comes from a Hebrew root that can be translated as “teaching.” The psalmist revels in the edifying and educational benefits of God’s instructive ways. “I have more understanding than the elders, for I obey your precepts…I gain understanding from your precepts…Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path” (Ps. 119: 100-105). Like a lost person finally finding the road home, he cries, “I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free” (Ps. 119:32). God’s laws are wise, life-giving guidelines that deserve to be cherished. “If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished” (Ps. 119:92). Obedience is our key to survival.

I find myself drawn to these sentiments for another reason. Over time I’ve seen too many families implode for lack of appropriate guidelines, too many institutions formalize dysfunction, and too many societies suffer from legalized inequities and injustices. Conversely, I’ve helped organizational start-ups that have carefully crafted bylaws and constitutions. On other occasions I’ve participated with more mature institutions in seeking to revise and renew their formal standards for member participation. From experience, I’ve become an advocate for well considered protocols, procedures, and processes. Good rules contribute to a culture of vitality, justice, and peace. A culture of shalom.

Psalm 23 offers us a familiar phrase: “He guides me in paths of righteousness” (Ps. 23:3). In a wilderness setting many paths lead to danger and even death. But the good shepherd puts us on what I’ve called “righteous ruts” – the normative pathways that lead to abundant life.

To create a culture of shalom, biblical leaders need to be clear about the rules…and the first one to follow them.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Display posts from previous: Forum Index -> Shepherd2Shepherd -> Culture Creation
Post new topic   Reply to topic All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   ProfileProfile   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group