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Cultural Commentary and Values

I just posted this on my other, play less friendly with others blog.  Yet, it is valuable to this blog and I hope, food for thought and pricks us to be more aware of our own heart…


People, institutions, and the church [plural of all forms] in the west loves to state publicly their “values”.  I usually state that these are either a) aspirations or b) plain ole marketing BS.

Why?  Values are not some low hanging fruit one reaches up to grab and choose…  they are only real when they drive choices, behaviors and the deeper ethos and emotion of how and why things (behaviors) happen as they do.  In other words, values are caught – not taught, as Tim Jack, a former pastoral mentor and boss said almost daily.  Values are weighed, defined and evidenced in one’s calendar/dairy/day planner.  They are evidenced in one’s check book – where the money goes.  They are evidenced in what emotionally moves you.  They are evidenced in what desires, goals and plans naturally come out of you.

One can shape values  – but it takes time, not until you behave a certain way, but until the instinctive reaction is that way.  When I train my lacrosse players, we work to get “muscle memory” where they respond in the millisecond of decision automatically in a specific way.  Then it is a habit.

It’s not a secret that I am an iconoclast.  I am openly and unashamedly critical and prophetic in my comment and estimation of our western, especially Yankee, culture.  I have the right – I am part of it, a shareholder.  My exposure in other countries through repeated extended travel and having lived abroad multiple times, gives me a different (more) objective view, while being inside and understanding it.

One of the most contemptuous and alienating values I have against our western (much larger than the US) is the worship of celebrity.  Instead of celebrating [Ever see that celebrate and celebrity come from the same root word…hmm.] people worthy of honor and noteworthy, we celebrate the most shallow and base things.  As God said, we would become a people who loves what we should be ashamed of and are ashamed of (do not value) virtue – which we should be proud of and celebrate.

You can see where I’m heading.  We celebrate 8th grade education 18 year olds who happen to have talent playing games.  We do not celebrate the heroes who save lives, shape our kids, or anything else like that.

A friend of mine from Seattle, Manfred, sent this out this morning.  It’s sobering.  It makes the point.  And at the end of the day, while I’ve hammered my point and you get it already – please don’t rush by the names of these young guys, or the others of whom they represent.

Have a good weekend, and may the peace of Christ reign in your world and life.  May you truly have values that drive you to behaviors that are virtuous.  May you recognize aspirations that are not yet values and work to make them so, but intentionally choosing the behavior that is fueled by the right value system.  May you become more aware of the cultural waters you live in, and recognize base values and choose a life of more.

Now, Manfred’s email:

Lindsay Lohan – 24, gets her name & face all over the news,  because she uses drugs and went to jail.  [My comment…an uneducated, dysfunctional, broken, lost, sad human with little to emulate, who shapes the values of millions and for what virtuous thing has she warranted celebration?]

Justin Allen-23,
Brett Linley-29,
Matthew Weikert-29,
Justus Bartett-27,
Dave Santos-21,
Chase Stanley-21,
Jesse Reed-26,
Matthew Johnson-21,
Zachary Fisher-24,
Brandon King-23,
Christopher Goeke-23,
Sheldon Tate-27…

Lord, have mercy.  Christ, have mercy.  Lord, have mercy.


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