Some change is good, and some change is bad. Some change takes place intentionally, and some change occurs inadvertently. Some change is personal and individual while other change is cultural and of a corporate nature. I am convinced and concerned that a significant dimension of God’s mission in the world (and consequently, the churches) is to form culture based on Biblical principle. To calm the fears of many, it is appropriate to point out that within properly defined moral parameters, based on aptly formed Biblical principle, there is room for unique, creative and artistic expression from culture to culture. However, this brief article is not designed to explore or discuss such variables. Instead, I simply intend to draw the reader’s attention to one specific aspect of cultural change.
Each child who is born is born into a specific atmosphere. This atmosphere has levels or rings of influence. To a large degree, people formulate “normal” based upon the atmosphere to which they are immediately exposed. This level of culture and the incremental changes associated with it, is not something a child analytically evaluates and embraces as much as something they “breath in.” Certain aspects of this idea relate to things that are largely insignificant (whether wearing scandals or sneakers was “normal” in your family) but most things associated with this thought have a significant impact on culture and on how culture changes. I will highlight one such consideration below as an example before suggesting aspects of cultural formation of which we should be aware.
We live in a nation that currently practices a system of education that uses government-sponsored public schools. The move toward this system, which I will not consider presently, was a gradual series of changes, each being the new normal for any child born after such change. The current approach, which includes the involvement of Federal and State control, was not always the approach we had taken as a nation. At this point, most people, born into this arrangement, have difficulty conceiving of any other option as the cultural approach to take. To suggest that our system of education be placed within the jurisdiction of private institutions is a radical thought for most people. Why? Because of what they know as normal. It is true that we have a peripheral approach that includes “private schools” and some measure of home-schooling but even these endeavors are ultimately accountable and subject to civil government.
At this point, I am not arguing for or against anything in particular (though I have arguments to offer); I am merely attempting to highlight the idea that the atmosphere or arrangement into which one is born is largely assumed to be “normal.” To alter the arrangement one knows as normal is very difficult. I personally experienced the reality of this challenge as I presented a series of sermons on God’s Design for Life on Earth. When approaching the topic of education and suggesting that parents are ultimately responsible for the educational process of a child, many people became disturbed and immediately drew many wrong assumptions, coming to the defense of our current, government-run arrangement, not being able to conceive of another viable option. In this response, there is a strong “dependency-factor.” To pursue an alternative, at this point, requires a level of responsibility most people are not interested in embracing.
Regarding the process of recovering from a normal that has departed from God’s holy standard, I would like to consider an obscure passage that is quite insightful. Haggai 2:12-14 reads,
With this statement, we simply learn that it is easier to make something that is “clean, “unclean” than it is to make something that is “unclean,” “clean.”
Finally, such “atmospheres” are represented in the following chart. Though this is not exhaustive and not without variable, I have attempted to assign weight of influence by their placement, moving from the center, out.
 For example: Clothing styles, within parameters that are not sexually suggestive, might vary in style and color pattern, some more or less festive, some cultures demonstrating a preponderance of hats, others not, etc. I might note that a culture that becomes overly pluralistic, embracing many nationalities and cultures, loses distinction of this sort. There is eventually an homogenized, hodge-podge of styles but nothing distinctly characteristic of said culture.
 Minor degrees of government regulation might be appropriate without the system itself being run by government agencies. It is also worth noting that there is a difference between the system of education within a culture and the curriculum the educational institution uses. With the promotion of such things as Common Core, we see the civil authorities attempting to control, not only the system, but the curriculum. this is very dangerous.