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Culture is the hinge

A blog about culture?

“How very difficult it is to resist an entire culture, and especially for children to do so, because it is a right and good thing for children to grow into awareness of being members of a broader community. They need culture in order to grow properly. It is one of their primary means of learning what it is to be a fully human person in a community of fellow human beings. That is why the solution will never be simply a matter of negatively criticizing the false culture surrounding us.

Michael D. O’Brien. A Landscape with Dragons: Christian and Pagan Imagination in Children’s Literature. Quebec:
Northern River Press, 68-69.

This will not be the first time you see me quoting from Michael O’Brien. The man is amazing (check him out here).  O’Brien and I are on the same mission: restoring culture to what it is meant to be–an affirmation of the imago Dei, the image of God, in creation, and more specifically, in the human being. He does it through writing essays and novels and through painting. I seek to do it through teaching Spanish, writing children’s literature, and sharing original music.

So why is a Spanish teacher sharing her thoughts about culture on a blog?

Good question, and one that I’m not sure I can answer completely. But it seemed the right time to start writing and so I did. I don’t know if anyone will read this (besides my mom–hi, Mom!), but the impetus for it came during Thanksgiving break of 2010.

I was spending time with God in the spare room at my parent’s house (how very Narnian!), staring into space/at the closet doors in front of me (could I say ‘the wardrobe doors’?). My eyes alighted on the hinge of the left door, and the word of God quickened in my heart:

Amanda, culture is the hinge.

I responded, “Okay, Lord. Culture is the hinge. But what is the door?” Yep, that’s exactly how the conversation went. I toyed with the idea a little while, but soon I was on to praying for other people (probably myself…) and thinking of other things. I didn’t understand what He had said to me until I was sharing the story with my good friend Sarah Hedrick (oh, the power of community! dialogue!). As we talked, it was like a veil was lifted from my eyes and I saw what God was saying to me:

The heart can be a wall. But if you put hinges on a wall, it becomes a door. And culture is the hinge.

What a revelation to me, the culture-lover! No wonder I am so in love with culture–it has opened up my heart to God. What do I mean by culture? In Sarah’s case, it is music. For me, it is novels and poetry. For my sister, it is art. For others, it is nature. It can be any combination of what are sometimes referred to as ‘the humanities’–theatre, literature, philosophy, history, art, music.

Isn’t it true that someone can be completely closed off to an idea but then experiences something ‘cultural’ and has a change of heart? This being said, I plan to share pieces of art with you, dear reader, that come from the creative well inside me. I encourage you to create and to do the same! Let’s put a hinge on the door of the walled heart and open it to Truth and Beauty!

A butterfly hinge

~Amanda

Triva: The word for ‘hinge’ in Spanish is eje (this refers to the conceptual hinge; the literal hinge is bisagra).



6 Comments

  1. Quang says:

    If you put a hinge on a wall, it’s a wall with a hinge :)

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. amy says:

    I love this. I have never thought of culture (or, as I think of it, the arts in general) in these terms, but the sentiment resonates with me. I’m currently working on a blog post along these lines. Can I quote you and link to this post? (If not, that’s totally okay!)

  3. Mary says:

    You are so right on, Amanda. Never looked at it that way till now. Thanks.

  4. Karen says:

    Cool message! I’ll try to keep up with your posts as I have time. Love you!

  5. Lindsey cazac says:

    Love it. “Restoring culture to what it was meant to be..”

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