photo by robin ultracik

i sit in another coffee shop
in another town
in another state.

my brisk way of ordering
peppered with quick smiles
and the motivation to get out the way quickly
doesn’t fit in here.

i used to order smoothly
with easy smiles
and a brief, yet relaxed
bit of conversation with the baristas.

now,
back in the place
where i learned that style,
my new ordering approach screams,
“OUTSIDER!!!”

for the past several years
i have been embedded in another culture.
i have been part of a place
where common courtesy
doesn’t seem so common,
i think,
because so few have actually seen it in action.
so few have felt the refreshment
of a few extra moments
of relaxed interaction
with whomever
one is interacting.

we are creatures of culture.
the smooth, easy and groomed culture
in which i grew up,
is very little
like the quick,
independent,
self-questioning culture
where i live now.

and it has affected me.

my coffee order,
though seemingly insignificant
reveals the influence.

and it saddens me.

beloved, i urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul.  keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.” –I Peter 2:11-12

in my new environment,
my new culture,
i let the fleshly lust of being accepted,
over-rule
my upbringing.
i feared hostility
and mockery–
and i experience both–
but the fear,
that fear ruled.

rather than keeping to the ways i knew best,
i let culture slowly,
subtly
change me.

i miss my friendly self.
good thing that God
has an antidote
for this particular poison.

and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.  –Romans 12:2

it’s time to do
what i know to do:
to be friendly,
to see the person
behind the role they play–
to look my barista in the eye,
smile,
take a pause,
and ask how their day is.
to part with a bit of encouragement
before i take my drink and find a seat,
or go on my way.

to this He has called me.
for me to choose another way
would be sin.

beloved, i am not writing a new commandment to you, but an old commandment which you have had from the beginning;  the old commandment is the word which you have heard.  on the other hand, i am writing a new commandment to you, which is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true Light is already shining. –I John 2:7-8

for me,
this is an old commandment.
to step aside from the often self-imposed pressures in my life
and take a look outward
to touch the hearts and minds
of those around me.
and maybe,
just maybe,
back in my current culture of hast and disregard,
the moments i commit
to connecting with every soul with whom i come in contact
will reveal a different life,
the possibility at a different culture.

maybe,
just maybe,
a seed of change will come
from me following this simple command from my Jesus.

what poison runs through your veins?
what old commandment is Jesus stirring in your soul?
the good news is this:
Jesus holds the antidote for whatever poison is ailing you.
choose Him.
and soon,
oh so soon,
the burning poison you feel in your veins
will be replaced
with refreshment
and peace.

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One thought on “creature of culture….

  1. Yes, this is how to react to the culture we are in! thank you for writing it so perfectly!

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