Building Culture

We are dead. As a culture, a society, we are dead.”There is something worse than being deprived of life, it is being deprived of life and not knowing it.” – Walker Percy. We are ostensibly free individuals who allow certain people and powers to manipulate and control our lives through money, markets, media and technology. Ironically, our “culture” is held up as the ideal in the world. Yet, we are slaves. We are slaves but we do not even know we are slaves because we chose to be slaves. We are driven by our passions & appetites to “Whatever feels good.” There is something else. There is something greater.

A true culture, although not perfect, did exist. A culture where there was community, celebration, fasting, praying, leisure and work. A community where life, relationships and creation was truly valued and ordered properly. It’s known as Christendom. However, the Christendom that we know today, in most places is hardly a reflection of true Christian culture. Why? Today we are “Christians” yet live our lives in the same manner as the secular world – and we tack on mass – as another errand, or to-do during the week. Grocery store, gym, mass… We celebrate the same secular, politically correct holidays, eat the same high processed “food”, work 50-60hrs a week and when we have time spend time with the family and maybe a say prayer over dinner.

We are in desperate need to redefine culture. The term ‘culture’ comes from the Latin word cultus meaning religion.  Culture is in fact nothing more then the way a religion interacts with a people and their environment. Thus we need to Transform Culture – or rather to reclaim true culture. What we think culture is today – is not culture. How is this done? Liturgy. Liturgy can order our culture. It teaches us to see beyond the surface, to see the deeper meaning in the material world. Its seasons, feast days and fasts – order time and space. It teaches us how to approach God. It teaches us virtue, how to live properly ordered lives – not enslaved to our passions. It fosters true community – not based on emotional entertainment or “what I can get from this”. Liturgy, when celebrated correctly, transforms humanity and creates Culture. Ordered, life-giving and joyful.