We have just enjoyed a visit from the grandchildren. We learnt a few new words that might appear one day in our dictionaries. Now we “chillax” after a busy day! If the grandchildren enjoyed the ride on the Wells and Walsingham light railway, then it was “wicked”, but we did pay for the tickets! Words can come to be used differently. We are reminded that language is a living phenomena, just as our words are. They convey our life style. Have you noticed the present way we describe what’s going on in our nation as our “culture”. Culture can be good and bad. But who is to make the value judgement?
Recently the chairman of the Bank of England used the word to describe some of the behaviour of one of the banks that cost it a hefty fine. He told us the culture of the banks had to change. I am sure the general consensus would support his judgement.
But over some other behaviour in our national life there might not be such quick consensus.
The trouble with calling for a change in behaviour by a change in culture is that it avoids the root problem. If the majority disapprove of the behaviour, then there will be some steps taken to regulate behaviour and make it harder to indulge greed and deception. But I doubt there will be much sense of shame about the reasons for the culture change. If we want a heart felt change in the nation, then we would be wiser to talk for a need to repent. Yes, I do know that word has gone out of coinage but we are the poorer for ditching it. To repent means to have a change of mind leading to a change of heart. It acknowledges the truth that some corporate behaviour is plain wrong, and rides rough shod over the Bible’s command to love our neighbour as ourselves. It takes ownership for my share in corporate guilt.
Repentance is calling time on corruption and turning around to head off in the right direction and ask for forgiveness. Some will find it hard to forgive those who have been found out and face public disgrace. But God is willing not only to forgive us but also to give us a change of heart that will keep us out of a culture that disregards the well being of others.
John Wallis, Gayton Parish