Culture, it’s been said, is “roughly anything we do and the monkeys don’t.”
Indeed, there’s a certain broadness or vagueness to the idea of culture. In fact, in some ways, you only see culture when you are no longer in it. Culture is water to a fish. It’s soil to a plant. It’s air for a bird.
Simply put, culture is the sum of everything we encounter and interact with, day-in and day-out.
On Saturday, I’ll walk across a stage and graduate with my Master’s degree. In large part, my 2+ years in this program have been about thinking through the idea of shaping or creating culture.
Yes, culture can actually be made.
In his book Culture Making, Andy Crouch says this:
“Culture is what we make of the world. Culture is, first of all, the name of our relentless, restless human effort to take the world as it’s given to us and make something else.”
For the last paper of my program, I spent 25 or so pages thinking about that “something else.” Specifically, I was dreaming up what it would feel like to make an organizational culture where women and men were truly equal and in mission together. Here’s my list of five marks of such a culture:
1. Men and women are aware of and repenting of their gender brokenness. What if we lived in a culture where you and I were aware of our brokenness (past pain, flawed perspectives, etc.) and seeking to grow into wholeness?
2. Women and men pursue reconciliation, extending forgiveness freely to one another. In such a culture, not only are people aware of and growing through their brokenness, they are experiencing redemption as they extend grace to one another. Imagine a culture where women forgive men for their pornography addiction! That’s a culture that the world needs to see.
3. An organizational commitment to teach and train on gender dynamics. Let’s face it, for many organizations or groups, the silence on these topics is deafening. Particularly in the church. What if we had a culture where the groups we are a part of were proactively engaging issues of gender dynamics?
4. A more equal distribution of organizational power. In a culture marked by gender equality, men and women share power. Decisions about leadership are made by gifting, not by gender privilege. Consider how this might increase our effectiveness in mission!
5. Permission to lead with authenticity. What if everyone–men and women–could lead in ways that are comfortable for them? In particular, too often in today’s culture, women end up leading in stereotypically masculine ways. Imagine a culture where people could bring who they uniquely are and apply it to the leadership task. The qualitative difference in our leadership culture would be profound.
There’s my list so far. What about you? What would you add? Subtract?
Sign me up!
Una, you’re a charter member…