Friday, February 25, 2011

Do Justice. Do Culture.

I've been hearing things in my head again. Confident Christians say, "God is speaking to me," when this happens to them. I believe God reveals things to people...but I am never confident enough to say for sure that He is speaking to me. Of course, crazy people hear voices as well. And some of you think that I am crazy simply because I believe God could speak to anyone. So I'm either crazy or hearing God or both...

Regardless, I have two phrases that won't leave me alone. I keep "hearing" this:

"Do Justice. Do Culture."

Nothing that radical, I suppose. But the way it has been possessing my thoughts lately is a little overwhelming. I am caught by the simple idea that both justice and culture are things that can be "done" in the first place. We like to say that justice is served or administered. Culture is experienced or admired. "Doing" either of them seems to...simplified. But I think that is what I am being called into. (Now I really sound like a crazy Christian, right?)

Here's what I have been playing around with of late. For my whole adult life I have strived to be congruent - to be the same person all the time. It is my presiding dominant value and ethic actually. The second I feel incongruent, I want to die. I hate to be seen as two-faced or insincere. That's the worst. To me, that is worse than being seen as evil. In a weird way it feels more right to be evil and know that you are evil than to be evil and pretend to be good.

Not that I am all that evil, or good for that matter. But I do fancy myself a rather complex fella. I have a wide set of passions that don't normally go together. There is something about those four words - Do Justice, Do Culture - that, for whatever reason, makes sense of my life. I can hang the rest of life on the pegs of doing justice and doing culture. I don't think those are the pegs for everyone. This is where it gets tricky. As a follower of Jesus, I already know what the two most important things are - loving God and loving people. But maybe, how I incarnate that is by primarily doing justice and culture. I could easily see how one could boil life down to other phrases, like "Do Worship. Do Community." or "Do Service. Do Mission." Or whatever. But I think these are my two words. I don't know what it means for me yet. But it is the path I am on. It feels congruent. I know I am out of balance when I do one and not the other. It's exactly what I want to do - to help to build a richly beautiful city that honors and serves the poor.


Steve Fuller said...

What do you mean by "culture?" We're all doing culture. Is there a specific culture you are being called to "do?" Or is it more about understanding cultural differences?

By the way, my word verification is "wilisin." Yes, I will, thanks for asking.

Joe said...


I am not totally sure what it means to me yet, but I think it means to contribute to culture. ie to produce stuff, make art/commerce, etc. To give something to the whole. Something along those lines. I feel like I am sometimes tempted to create my own subculture vs. coming alongside others to build a better polis/city/culture for everyone.

At some level, I hope it is what a redeemed career drive looks like.

Something like that.