You Can Not Change the World

I’ve been on a culture-making kick recently.

What would it take to push a generation away from mindless culture-consumption to meaningful culture-creation? This is the question that has rattled around my brain for the past month.

It started while I was looking ahead at the vision for the youth group at Mission Creek Alliance. One of the students had just recognized a passion of theirs and chose to influence that sphere of his life in a positive way.

Let me introduce you a guy named Jacob. Jacob is graduating highschool this year, intends to take the next year off to work/travel before going to university. Like most other students his age he is busy with school, extracurricular activities, church, and friends. I sat down with him one day and asked what his passions were. He had two off the top of his head: Music and Kendama. If you don’t know what Kendama is, click here. I asked him how he could influence that world, and Kendama Kelowna was born.

Me on left, Jacob is on the right. (Giant Kendama in the middle)

Now, I have no idea what is going to happen with this Kendama club. What Jacob will eventually do with it, or where it will go (whether it will go anywhere!). But that’s not the point. The point is that instead of being a passive consumer of the culture that is consistently being fed to Jacob, he chose to make something of the world. Make something of his world.

Andy Crouch wrote a book called Culture-Making. In it he defines culture as, “what we make of the world.” Culture is everything from omelettes to art to kendama. Culture is what we make of the world.

In Jacob’s case, culture-making is what Jacob made of his world. His area of influence, passion, and creativity led him to be an active creator in the world of Kendama.

In this is where the trap lays. Everyone wants to change the world. We all want to make an impact on the world, to be recognized for being innovators, to push the limits and make global efforts of bringing people together to enact change on a large-scale. When we adopt this “world-changing” mentality we set ourselves up to realize that we cannot change the world. We don’t have the power to determine what is a trend in our culture, to know what is going to be the next hit, to have the audacity to think that we can change someone else’s thinking across the world is insane!

You can not change the world. I can not change the world. But you can change your world. I can change my world.

Let me explain.

While yes, we can not expect to make a global impact that would define “world-change,” we can be a part of a very real change in our worlds. The world you inhabit and live in. The coffee shops you visit, the friends you have, the church you attend, the school you go to, the grocery store you shop at, your neighborhood. This is your world and in this world you can change it. You can choose to be culture-creators instead of culture-consumers. You can choose to bring joy and life to physical areas in your world where there is only sadness and despair.

So, how are you going to change your world?

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