Catacomb Resident Blog

Covenant and Culture

29 May 2022

We need to be aware of what we are up against in serving Christ.

The Covenant of Christ is not a culture. It does have cultural implications, but the foundation of living by your heart and convictions is not a culture in itself. If you give enough thought to it, walking in Christ does not borrow much from any existing culture. Rather, it sets out boundaries of living on this earth and a value system that challenges just about everyone. Every culture alive today carries baggage you'll need to lose in order to follow Christ.

The biggest issue is worldliness. The otherworldly orientation of Jesus pretty much condemns every human culture. As a part of that, there is the issue of ethnocentrism. Granted, most people of white European background are not inherently tribal. They'll marry people from almost anywhere, which defines the fancy term "exogamous". They cannot imagine a duty to ethnic solidarity without making it a sick religion. Most every other ethnic group in the world is ethnocentric by culture, tending to marry only within their tribe. It's natural for them, but utterly foreign to whites. Against that background, it should be painfully obvious that the calling of the Elect is from all nations -- ethnically random -- and if you are going to marry under the Covenant, ethnocentrism is not an issue.

It's just about the only advantage whites have under the Covenant. The call to promote the Covenant and to build a tight-knit covenant community of faith pretty much destroys every ethnic identity on the planet. It calls for a faith-centric identity, and whites struggle with that part. They are wired to carry around multiple human loyalties based on the context, and struggle to imagine a single overarching sense of commitment to any one thing. Whites are conditioned to be highly compartmentalized.

Furthermore, the Covenant is anti-evolutionary. That is, by faith we reject the notion of letting natural selection take its course among covenant folks. We will always seek God's face to keep our covenant brothers and sisters alive against all the odds, until our convictions agree it's time to let them go. But Scripture teaches us to value each other as the greatest treasure on this earth, regardless of context. Nothing is more valuable to you than another covenant soul. Non-white ethnic groups struggle less with this part.

A Christian Mystic faith holds zero interest in conquering this world. We are hoping to leave it as soon as it's convenient for our Father. Meanwhile, we are fully aware that nothing mankind values in general is of interest to us. We are aware of our own natural tendency to leave our DNA to live on this earth, but our hearts tell us that our moral influence is far, far more important. Sure, building a covenant population by birth is a nice dream, but Jesus warned us that too many of our human family members will be born non-elect. They can pretend to be part of the Covenant, but sooner or later it's going to come apart for them. That's the way Election and the Covenant work.

Thus, we are caught between two different realms of existence. The higher realm must dominate, but that doesn't mean we are cruel to our blood kin. It just means that blood kinship has limited value in our calculus. What matters most is Covenant kinship.

Don't get so wound up in passing on your genes, but do make every effort to pass on your moral influence. Make sure folks get a good look at shalom. That's your prime directive.

Now, if we are faithful in that mission, sooner or later the Father will honor that and our faith community will grow. His own Word calls for building a culture that includes a very strong moral infrastructure of Covenant boundaries. Scripture calls for a determined and persistent effort to establish in your own life the kind of shalom that God can use to build a long-term community presence. That's our goal, but the outcome remains in His hands. Don't pretend He owes you anything, but we know from history that He does work that way in most cases.

Thus, the battle for us here and now is to work as if He intends to build from our lives a foundation that will serve future generations. What He does with it is His prerogative, but our mission is pretty clear. There are no cultural blueprints to follow. It's our duty to build a culture from the Covenant boundaries, whatever it takes in our context to make it work. That includes a clear knowledge of ethnic differences in social interactions. A culture that supports the boundaries in high-trust societies won't work with low-trust folks.

Cultural anthropology -- the cultural differences in ethnic identities and why -- is not a waste of time. You can bet that Satan is aware of the differences, and will send his servants to prey upon your faith community. The boundaries are the Covenant, not the cultural milieu we build to make it happen. Faith can overcome any human obstacle, but it sure helps to know what those obstacles are against that faith.

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