My wife and I spent this past weekend in Key West, FL. While having a great time, my eyes were broadened to the cultural realities that surround us every day. We experienced life that goes beyond what we see in our typical suburban neighborhoods. We met people from around the world who are striving to make their environments a safer, stronger, and better place to live! We had conversations with locals and tourists who were playing their part in impacting the world around them. I was reminded that the American dream is alive and real! My ability to type, edit, and publish this article is proof that I live with freedoms to express my thoughts and opinions.
We talked with people about religion, the economy, relationships, kids, the president, drugs (we were even told how much cocaine costs in Key West), sexual orientation, and the weather. People of all backgrounds, family structures, economic situations, and political affiliations were open to having just about any conversation. The entire weekend made me evaluate what I am doing to make a difference through my words, actions, finances, time, and relationships. There were moments of brokenness as we watched people, but there were also moments of excitement when seeing the work ethic of so many individuals.
Overall, I realized we live in a culture of confusion. To most people, truth remains relative to their circumstance and, for the most part, we are overly consumed with the immediate moment in front of us. This works if you are on vacation, live in a transient area, are good at faking your way through life, or are not worried about making a difference in your own environment. To be honest, I was even somewhat confused as to how to respond to much of what I experienced this past weekend. Where do we go from here? As a follower of Christ, what should be my response to what I experienced? How can I authentically witness to those who either already think their path leads to God or they don’t want to be witnessed to?
Here lies the realistic confusion of our culture…
We live in a culture that wants to end sex and human trafficking, yet sex drives culture within our music, entertainment, and advertisement. Some statistics have even shown the pornography industry has more of an economic influence on our nation than Netflix.
We live in a culture that believes every refugee and immigrant has the right to live wherever they desire, yet homelessness and abortion are greater today than ever before. I cannot express the brokenness we saw on the faces of so many homeless throughout Key West.
We live in a culture where people want every source of federal funding available for themselves, yet they struggle to live out the work ethic it takes to obtain a larger paycheck.
We live in a culture where we want to be respected for what we believe is truth, yet we protest, post against, and are offended by everything we disagree with.
We live in a culture where we are upset with the way corporate America operates, yet we take advantage of every opportunity we have to do a business write off. How do we think corporate America made it to the level they are currently at?
We live in a culture that is simply – confusing! We don’t know what we want to believe, and because of that our belief system and ideology of truth is relative to our immediate situation. We want to be social, relational, loving, kind, and humble, but only if it fits where we are today. We don’t want to be offended, upset, easily angered with our neighbors, until they do something that steps on our toes.
The idea of loving as Christ loved is not relative to my situation or circumstance. It is defined by Scripture and the calling God has placed on my life! There is not confusion found in experiencing God’s love, but there may be confusion in trying to comprehend it. Confused yet? Follow me for a minute…my wife and I experienced Key West – walked Duval Street, hung out at Sloppy Joe’s, had amazing Cuban coffee at the Cuban Coffee Queen, biked almost 30 miles, and much more! But honestly, it was difficult to comprehend the culture of Key West. It was a tourist trap for fishermen, bar hoppers, and cruisers. Certain political agendas were evident, but no more than I have seen at Disney, Target, ESPN, or even some churches. I was confused if I should walk away saying I have enjoyed the culture.
As my wife and I focused on growing our relationship and the experience of our time together, it was an awesome weekend! Honestly, I believe we can make anywhere in the world under any circumstance a joy-filled time! It is the same thing regarding our relationship with God and our responsibility to love as He has called us to love! Don’t always try to comprehend every detail of life, because it will only confuse you more! Relax, take a deep breath, and remember that God is sovereign over all! Trust Him, rely on Him, fall more in love with Him, and experience His goodness! As you do that, the culture around you will be impacted for the cause of Christ!