“Let’s do a Bible study that talks about how being a Christian affects our culture!” suggested one of our leaders at the beginning of the semester. Great idea! But where do you find that kind of material? Walk into any Christian bookstore and you’ll find a women’s section, a men’s section, and Bibles “marketed” towards soldiers, firefighters, and even cowboys, but where can you find a book asking “What does Christ have to do with my culture or ethnicity?” The fact is, sometimes it’s awkward to talk about culture, race, and ethnicity. But culture is that basic aspect of who each of us is–so hard to define, and often unseen by us, but influencing how we experience everything around us. In our ministry, we ask the question, “Why did God give you your culture?” But the first step is discovering what exactly our culture is and what beliefs we possess about it.
In Destino we ask the question, “Why did God give you your culture?”
Carolina walked into one of our meetings a little nervous. She had grown up in a mostly Latino church, but hadn’t attended there for years. She was hesitant to come to Destino in the first place because she hadn’t been around a large group of Latinos in a long time. She later confessed, “I didn’t really think it was possible for a group of Latinos that large to worship God together like that.” As she has gotten more involved with Destino, she says that she’s felt more like herself. She couldn’t have said what was missing before, but says her relationship with God has gotten deeper as she’s explored why God made her Latina. She has uncovered beliefs and frustrations about her own family and culture, and also traits her culture possesses that glorify God. In the words of another friend of ours,
“In our culture you find close family ties, fierce loyalty, and a deep ability to grieve what’s broken and celebrate redemption at the same time.”
Carolina has been finding out ways God wants to use her, including her Hispanic heritage, to be a blessing to others and lead them toward Christ! It has been a blessing for us to see Carolina and other students grow in their understanding of who they are. This is what drives Destino staff to develop resources for Bible study, discipleship, and leadership development that engage with questions like these. It has also caused me to consider questions of ethnic identity in Christ for myself–as an Anglo person, what does our own culture consist of? As a member of white culture in the U.S., and a majority in my city, how does God want to use that aspect of who I am?
Devin is on staff with Destino in St. Louis, MO. Originally posted on his blog.