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Change our culture to please God

Published:Monday | January 14, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Atchrine Taff, who preaches on the JUTC bus. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer

Steve Lyston, Contributor

The culture of a people is, to some extent, the source of its identity. Culture could even be seen as a nation's stamp on the fabric of history.

But a nation's culture can also have negative traits that can hinder that very nation; and while we cannot change the past, we can, to some extent, modify certain attributes and traits within our culture that can contribute positively and significantly to the development of our nation.

If our nation is going to see positive changes, particularly in politics, business and education, then there are some aspects of our culture from which we will have walk away. Not everything handed down from our foreparents was correct.

Even concerning the nations with which we trade, we need to be careful as a country about what we sanction or revere as their culture.

Many of the things embraced as culture will need to be adjusted with the application of the principles of the word of God. The apostle Paul, in the book of Acts, challenged those who were even benefiting from certain cultural rituals and practices to embrace Godly change.

Level of worship

Further to all this, recognise that culture also carries with it a level of worship, and some of it can bring the wrath of God on a nation. Even some of our symbols and logos need to be revisited and change applied.

Oftentimes, countries, in an effort not to offend other nations, partake in some of the rituals of those nations which go against their own religious beliefs and instead offend God, and opens doors to adverse effects on such nations.

Now, while people will say that they don't embrace religion and that "... it's just culture," then I challenge such ones to research these cultures and the meanings behind the symbols and logos. Do these things bind a nation or set it free? Even the media has to dig deeper into their research, particularly when they cover events.

Let us look at some of our dances and some of the songs we sing; while they came from our African ancestors and have become a part of our culture and heritage, who inspired them?

What is the significance of a crocodile/alligator with a key in its mouth? A key represents access, wisdom and knowledge. A crocodile/alligator represents danger, destruction, and according to Job 41:1, 10 and Psalm 74 pride (arrogance) and evil.

With that said, beyond the historical information, what is the significance of this symbol, particularly on the nation's currency.

It is interesting that each time the nation is about to cross over to the proverbial 'promised land', financial and otherwise, there is always something that hinders it from happening; and while many would love to blame it on the 'ignorance of a people', we must recognise the impact that a culture and its practices can have on the growth and development of a nation.

At the time of Paul the apostle, the Greeks felt that anything outside of Greek philosophy and culture were of no consequence.

Our nation's culture is similar in that the mindset says, no one can lead the nation unless they have studied at the top universities in the world and have attained doctoral degrees in law or economics.

In addition to that, many are of the belief that only persons who have studied at the most notable theological colleges must/should be the pastor/reverend/bishop in a church.

Maybe, very shortly, we will see them asking for a degree to preach on the Jamaica Urban Transit Company buses, because many believe that once preachers have not studied at such places and don't possess a degree, then they preach nonsense and stupidity.

But based on that, it would mean that Jesus would not have qualified, because he did not possess an earthly degree.

There are many who would be ashamed to quote a scripture from the Holy Bible, but would prefer to justify a situation or make a point, or even state as truth quotes from Aristotle, Freud, Einstein and even Mark Twain - pseudonym of Samuel Langhorne Clemens.

Our culture propels us to love to hear eloquence and big promises and embrace the lies without going deeper and seeking the truth of a matter. Our culture hates to read and is willing to take things just at face value. But that has its consequences.

Our culture must reflect the source of all life - God our Father. We can't build on and grow in a culture that is not centred on the true giver of life.

Steve Lyston is a biblical economics consultant and author of several books, including 'End Time Finance' and 'The New Millionaire'.