Culture is what people make and do. It’s the water that all of us fish swim in. What people affirm, enjoy, condemn, expect and participate in— that is the basics of culture.
On a fundamental level, it’s easy to understand how cultures change. Over time people do and make different things, which shifts the “how” and the “what” that people enjoy, reject, and consume. Companies, music, tv shows, politics, and technology are all infusing culture with new “cultures” that slowly shape what we as a people do and love.
But how should we understand the news, blogosphere, Christian radio, evangelical books, and social media that lament the loss of our culture’s Christian or religious identity? Christians have lost the “cultural war” of the last several decades. In fact, most articulate the North American culture as increasingly hostile towards Christ and his followers.
How could this happen? Which political party or social media is to blame? Which company is creating anti-religious products that our shaping our culture away from Christianity?
What if the reason our culture’s religious identity is changing is because Christians have stopped doing Christian things?
Like going to church. There is nothing more fundamental to the Christian faith and practice than a weekly gathering for worship.
But instead of viewing church attendance as a culture shaping event and practice, most believer are beginning to see it as optional. They would rather “engage” culture on other fronts. Sitting in a pew on Sundays feels less radical and sexy. So going to church slips out of focus.
Does regular attendance really mean once or twice a month?
If culture is what people do and make, then a culture’s religious identity is found in the religious practices of its people. However, American Christians are slowly abandoning one of their most essential and culturally shaping practice…going to Church.
Cultures shift when people consistently make and participate in the same types of activities. It becomes woven into the fabric of culture.
Perhaps the most culturally ‘rebellious’ and transformative thing you can do this weekend is attend church. It’s the practice — the “culture”— of Christians.