Cultural Identity

Bakers Posted by Paul and Tania Baker on Tue, 17 Dec 2013 | 1 comments | Bookmark: digg this Post this to Post this to Facebook

Our time of ‘home assignment’ is coming to an end. On 2nd January we will fly back to Uganda and by lunchtime on the 3rd we’ll be in Kiwoko trying to remember how to cope with the dry-season temperatures of around 35˚c. It’s a tough life.

During these 6 months at home we have had a chance to relax, catch up with friends and visit our many Link Parishes and other supporters of Kiwoko. This has been a really encouraging time.

Before we came home we were warned about ‘reverse culture shock’. Thankfully we didn’t have many problems with readjusting to life at home. However, our stomach’s reacted badly to the suddenly available take-away food. We hadn’t realised how healthy our Ugandan diet was!

Coming back to Northern Ireland after 2½ years away allows you to look at the province in a different light. We have been saddened by the on-going violence and hatred within and across our communities. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Uganda is perfect – far from it. Every earthly culture has its problems. I suppose if we are serious about being Followers of Jesus then we should consider The Kingdom of Heaven our culture, not that of Uganda, Northern Ireland or Great Britain. Our ‘cultural identity’ must lie in God’s Kingdom.

Philippians 3:20
‘ But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Saviour from there, the Lord Jesus Christ…’

Culture shock becomes less of a problem if you don’t succumb to the culture you are living in. Shock should turn to concern, which should lead to prayer. We all need to pray for the nation we live in, and those we are partnered with in countries across the world.
So, if we are trying to live as citizens of the Kingdom of Heaven, how should that look?

Romans 14:17
‘For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit…’

In other words, what our earthly culture has taught us about how a Christian should behave should be superseded by a life of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Surely if our attitudes are grounded in these qualities, our reactions to what we see and experience should be godly due to the leading of the Holy Spirit. There is no place for anger and hatred in God’s Kingdom.

I have been challenged to examine my attitude toward the culture, traditions and ‘the accepted practices’ in the place I live, whether in Northern Ireland or Uganda. I believe we need to decide whether Jesus is King, or something else is.

Do our lives display the goodness, peace and joy of the Son of God whose birth we celebrate this time of year?

Tania and I hope you have a joyful Christmas and a peaceful 2014.



Aart said Tue, 24 Dec 2013 12:59PM
A righteous, peacefull and joyfull amen to this. Hope to see you guys sometimes soon here in Uganda. The den Breejen fam.

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