Sunday, February 7, 2010

The Integration of Faith and Culture

I'm on a cabinet here at school called IFC for "Integration of Faith and Culture" we were asked to write about how we view that phrase. So I'm just copying what I wrote.

In the movie Never Been Kissed, the main character is a journalist, and she starts her article like this: “Somebody once said, ‘to write well, you have to write what you know.’ Well here’s what I know.” So to quote a quote that quotes a quote, I’m going to write what I know because I, too, am a journalist. Well, I’m a Media Writing major, which is essentially the same thing.

When we talk about culture, we think of American vs. international culture, Taylor vs. other college cultures, even different dorm cultures. I believe cultures intertwine; we’re not in specific ones that we can necessarily pinpoint, but we’re in a mixture of cultures that make up who we are as individuals. I have my cultures that shaped me: my family, town, home church, mission trips, Taylor, internships, vacations, friends, my specific major, etc. Each one of these little cultures combine together to form me and my passions.

I could talk about how I mix the American culture and my faith. But I think we’ve been taught, especially here at Taylor, what it means and how we should do it. But what I’m talking about is the big picture. The integration of culture with my faith, for me, is where everything meets in the middle, and it feels like an epiphany, and it feels like “this is it. This is what life is.” To me, life is half culture, half faith: the things that make us who we are in this world, and the God who makes us who we are in the spiritual world.

I never knew what I wanted to do with my life. I knew I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know what kind or what I would write about. I listened to people talk about what makes them feel alive, without being able to relate, because although I’ve been privileged enough to do a lot of awesome things in my life, I never knew the feeling of being “alive,” or at least I didn’t understand the meaning until it happened.

This summer, I worked for Operation Mobilization, which is an international mission organization. For two weeks, I joined their team in London for a mission trip. I guess you could say that I was a special case, because while everyone else there was there to participate in this two-week mission trip, I was going to do the same thing, except at night or on a day off, I would write stories for the organization. I process things with the written word, not verbally, so it worked. Never before had I gone on a mission trip where I was expected to process my experience in writing.

One day, when we got back from street evangelizing, my team talked about their individual experiences and conversations. After we had processed it together, I got out my computer and started writing about it. I remember thinking, “This is it. This is what fits.” It was like my life had built up to that moment. Not that the moment was the climax of my life, but it was like all my little cultures and my faith had built me up to that moment just to reveal that this was it for me. Never have I felt more apart of the kingdom of God than when everything in my life just met in the middle.

So I’m not saying that missions is for everyone, or that’s what is going to make things click. But I am saying that there are moments in our life when things feel completely right, and that is when our small cultures that define us on earth meet with our faith that defines us to God, and it fits.


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