By Christ John Otto, adapted from a mailing to the Belonging House ministry in greater Boston.
Has God ever told you that your vision is too small? I have been working on a book about the most overlooked person in the Bible–Bezalel. The things that I have learned about this prophet who made the Ark of the Covenant and designed the Tabernacle have astounded me. I have been even more astounded that so little is written about him. More space in the Bible is devoted to Bezalel and his work than Noah, Gideon, and Samson.
Through this study, God has been opening my eyes to a bigger vision. God’s plan has always been to transform and take over the earth, and make it better than it was originally intended. God has a big vision for this planet, and central to his plan is the transformation of culture.
Imagine a conveyor belt on an assembly line. This is the assembly line of culture. The first station on the assembly line is the story. Culture begins with the stories we teach children.
Next on the assembly are songs, and then after them, pictures. Next up the assembly line are the received skills and knowledge on how to do things. Then there are holidays and festivals. Later on there is clothing, and later on architecture. Finally there is media–news, film, television, and the internet (interestingly, all forms of telling stories). And at the very end of the assembly line is legislation. Politics are the last stop, the place where cultural values are written into law.
Most conservative Christians miss it because they think they can begin at the end of the Assembly line. Like Lucy and Ethel trying to eat the chocolates that they couldn’t fit into boxes, Christians have felt overwhelmed by the losing battle with the forces of the “culture wars.”
This is why there is a battle about what is taught in school, what words and terms are allowed in the public square, and why the media distorts the news. It’s about the story, and about who determines culture. If something comes up for a vote, you have lost the battle.
Many ask me “Why does an arts ministry want a place on Beacon Hill?” It’s because we want to influence the culture before the vote ever happens. Belonging House is called to raise up men and women on the first step of the conveyor belt, where it makes all the difference.