I sometimes find myself musing over what I am allowed to do nowadays. How do I avoid violating the new tenants of politically correct purity? I love Lasagna but ahime’ (alas), I am not Italian, I enjoy certain rap music, but I’m not from the hood. I do have a lot of Irish in me, but I don’t dance a jig, play the bagpipes or drink. Before you even suggest it, nobody wants to see my legs in a kilt.
One of the many great offenders of the modern politically righteous is Cultural Appropriation. For those who may not know, Cultural Appropriation occurs when someone from one culture says, does, or wears something that was originated by a different culture.
A while back, some folk were outraged that white women were wearing hoop earrings. The argument was that they were obviously appropriating them from Africans. Forget the fact that hoop earrings date back to the Greeks and Romans, we can’t let truth stand in the way of a good offence. Especially not in the Post-Truth era.
Another more recent example involved a Native American teacher who decided to wear a headdress for Halloween. Unfortunately, the teacher was not aware of, or worse yet chose to ignore, that her specific tribal ancestors never wore that particular kind of headdress. So – even though she was indeed Native American, she was apparently not the “right kind” of Native American. Confused yet? Yeah, it doesn’t take long.
Despite my obvious misgivings about the logical conclusions and tenability of Cultural Appropriations, there is one violation of this sociological faux pas that I am convinced is extremely serious. Frighteningly, it ranks among the worst of sins and may even jeopardize eternal souls.
Throughout the Bible there is a consistent warning, first to Israel and then to all Believers that we should not and MUST NOT appropriate the gods and customs of other cultures. The immoral and violent ways of the world are considered abominable to God.
In Titus, Paul tells his young protégé that he should make every effort to teach the people in the churches of Crete sound doctrine. The specifics include: unquestionable morality, integrity, consistency, love, moderation, self-control, soberness, reverence, respect, tenderness, purity, righteousness and more. He repeats on several occasions that we are to show the world who God is through the example of our love for others and our pure, unassailable lives.
In modern times, it seems that much of the church believes we are to show the world who God is by being more like the world. This is not only counter-intuitive, it is counter-doctrine. The Bible has always been clear that we are a holy nation and peculiar people who are called to reveal the praise of an amazing God who called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9)
So if you ask me, the most egregious Cultural Appropriation is when Christians adopt secular standards. We are not called to appropriate, appreciate or participate in the ever-changing culture of a temporary and fading world, rather we are called to fully participate in an eternal Kingdom with an immutable King.