Last year, I attended a training course for work. It was one of many that I have had to attend over time. But this one stood out for me. This one helped me understand something about myself and my culture.
In a nutshell the course went on and on as they do. Delving into the scientific facts and this and that. Then it started to explain about how & why people communicate with each other. Then my learning ears switched on.
They started talking about something I had never heard of before. High and Low Context Cultures. Yes there was a lot of scientific stuff that I wont bore you with. lol. But there were some nuggets of pure gold that I would like to share with you today.
Culture in its truest form is a basically how a society of people are expected to react and communicate with each other and how to perceive what is important and valued.
The word culture is usually used in today’s world to define the country where a person originates from and how they do things. But this term has a much broader meaning. It spans out to how things are done in the work place and organizations etc, INCLUDING CHURCH.
Breaking it down in to two types of cultures, I have listed some types of questions that a person might ask from each culture group when they first meet someone.
What type of person are you?
What is your history?
Who is your family?
What are your strengths?
Who do you want to be?
What do you do for a living?
What is your position or job in this group?
How much money do you earn?
How productive can you be?
What do you own?
What do you want to be?
If you look at the two different groups, you will quickly see that there is a huge difference between the two. One focuses on the integrity of a person and the other focuses on the position of that person. Each culture has a different value system.
Unfortunately our western culture has trained us to be very much high context. Think about it. When you first meet someone, is one of the first things you say “So what do you do”? This culture is more interested in being connected with someone who has power, than someone who has integrity. This is our reality.
But it doesnt need to be this way.
God doesnt want it this way.
There is alot more to this study that I wont go into today. I really wanted to focus on this one point and that is how we, as people in our culture ascertain the value of someone in our groups.
We are all children of God. We all have a different role to play in church and in our daily lives. Each role is unique and equally important to the body of Christ. Some one has to lead the church and someone has to clean the toilets. Someone has to be a public speaker and someone else has to write. Someone else can sing and someone else can council. Someone can do full time ministry in church and someone needs to stay home and raise their children. No one is more important than the other. We are all equal in God’s eyes.
God doesnt want the Sadducee and pharisee mentality in his Holy Church. He doesnt want people to be valued as more important because of their position. He doesnt want certain people in his church to be treated special because of their title or wealth. He doesnt want leaders to be placed like royalty, but as loyal servants in their calling. He wants people to be valued for who they are not what they do. Children of God. Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Equal in the eyes of God and His people. All having a vital part to play in the Body of Christ.
For God shows no partiality.
To show partiality is not good, but for a piece of bread a man will do wrong.
“You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.
My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. 2 For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, 3 and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” 4 have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? 5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor man. Are not the rich the ones who oppress you, and the ones who drag you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing well. 9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors. 10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it. 11 For he who said, “Do not commit adultery,” also said, “Do not murder.” If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. 13 For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.
1 Timothy 5:21
In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of the elect angels I charge you to keep these rules without prejudging, doing nothing from partiality.