This quote was made legendary by Ghandi. One of the great humanitarians to ever live. Don't under-estimate how influential your life can be to set culture.
We are in The Teen Decade, the 7 years of 2013-2019. They only happen once in a century. And one of the things I would like to call American Christian Teenagers to is creating culture. The best Sociologists do this. And teen Christians should be the best Sociologists. And who better than Daniel to learn from creating culture. In the face of fire and lions, he changed all the rules. Read his story in the Book of Daniel in the Old Testament. How did Daniel set culture?
Creating culture takes many things. But, let me give you 2 Daniel did well:
Knowing - Understanding Context is the first step to creating culture. Daniel was one of the young men who lived among the people of the Persian empire. He knew them. And knowledge is powerful. I love downtown Minneapolis for a reason. I love the city. And its power. I was born in San Francisco, lived in Detroit, and now live in the heart of Minneapolis. My understanding of a rural setting is not as keen as my understanding of the urban setting. For me to be most effective for the kingdom requires me to be in setting. Generally, types and kinds reach their own. And so it takes all kinds of people to reach all kinds of people. And Daniel impacted Persia because of his understanding.
The reason advertisers do marketing analysis is to find leans in a target sector or to create trends for their product. Ultimate culture creating is preparing the culture for your product. What better way to impact our world for Christ and the Gospel than to prepare our own life so that it can have the clearest effect on the world we live in? I can understand my culture when I do a few things:
LISTEN to the people and speak their language
GET INVOLVED serving and volunteering
PRAYING for the culture I'm in
The second way Daniel created culture was more difficult.
Being - Understanding Self is the second step to creating culture. Daniel had to live his beliefs. In the face of great hardship and danger. Being is fueled by our knowledge. God only created one you. To be anyone else erases you from His plan. Be the best you. Nobody else can do that. My personal life will be the best effect upon my context. Daniel prayed. And Daniel walked with the right friends. Prayer and the right crew helped Daniel walk out his faith in front of the people. Because of his faith and his friends he was comfortable with who he was and wasn't intimidated by what others wanted him to do. Show me your friends, and I'll show you your fears.
I have learned working with teens and adults in 30 years of Youth Leadership that your love for something (especially yourself) brings great confidence in life. A healthy self understanding is a sweet spot to be in. What are your strengths? What are your skills? What do you do better than anyone else? These things are what you should bring to the table every day. I know what wakes me up every morning. Sleep almost becomes a distraction to the things I love to do. How about you? Do you love:
RETAIL and working with people?
TEACHING and shaping a child?
GOVERNMENT and civil service?
Daniel understood the rules in Persia quite well. But, he also knew himself and what God had called him to. And in the face of opposition that appeared in a Fiery Furnace and a Lion's Pit, Daniel changed everything. Not only the laws of fire and hungry lions, but, also, the laws in Persia. You can create culture everywhere you go by observing and listening, and, by being the best you God created. The relationship between Knowing and Being are very powerful in culture creating. Don't forget the powerful words in Daniel 11.32, "The people who KNOW their God will be strong and DO mighty things."
Be the change you want to see in the world. And begin with Knowing and Doing. And you will create culture quickly.