Cultural Righteousness

On Monday I had the privilege of going the Phoenix Seminary Pastor’s Conference in Arizona. Gunner, John Hessler, Jared Warren, and I all drove there together Sunday afternoon, stayed the night in a Motel 6, attended the all-day conference, and then drove back Monday evening. We rolled into Phoenix, AZ at about 7:30 pm on Sunday and were absolutely starving. We walked into the check-in room, where something interesting happened. The lady serving the counter appeared to be about 50, obviously from a hard background. Time had not looked kindly upon her. At any rate, as we were checking in, she peppered her speech with mild curses. I can’t help but wonder if she was cursing because that’s how she talks, or because it was “cool.” Four college guys sharing a room on a Sunday night in a college town (Arizona State University). We asked about coffee and a continental breakfast for the next morning. She responded by saying “We have coffee in here in the morning, in case you need to clear any hangovers.” What an interesting comment. She naturally assumed what we would be doing, and that thing had quite literally never even occurred to us. What has our culture come to where in such situation is expected sin from us. We asked where food and shops could be found. She directed us saying, “There’s lots of stuff to do down there.” We were driving around on Camelback Drive when we noticed many of the restaurants conspicuously had no windows.

I once read an interesting article about cultural righteousness. It asked the question of how much of our righteousness is based upon our culture and upbringing instead of God’s Word. For instance, if I were raised in the South in the 1950’s, would I have participated in the atrocities against blacks? I hope not, but I can’t say for sure. I’ve been raised in righteousness. It’s just the way things are, not a conscious choice. I wonder how much of my spirituality comes from being surrounded by right thinking, and I’m simply swept away by the tide. That is a blessing, but we also need to remember to search the Scriptures, lest we fall like our brothers in the South, circa 1950.

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