Culture and its Influence

I was having lunch yesterday with some friends visiting from Los Angeles and we got into this great discussion about how our culture influences our posture towards healing. Shame, fear, pride, controlling our image, and many other issues erect barriers that prevent us from living out of our true selves.

Well, I got a glimpse today of how my culture shaped my view of women for many years. I love to grab lunch at a local taqueria that has the best “Super Quesadilla Carnitas.” It also has a free chips & salsa bar with the best green sauce in the world! And it is FREE!

Whilst grubbing on that oh so good food there is a large TV screen that is hard to not notice. Unfortunately they usually have the local Latino variety show on and most if not all the women are scantily clad for your viewing pleasure. Jumping, jiggling, prancing, dancing, all for your brain to capture and download at a later time. I know it all seems so innocent and is done for laughs but I’m sure for young boys and girls it births a view of sexuality that is somewhat skewed. It sure did in me.

With disgust, and it has taken me many years to look at women “in God’s image” and know that I am not completely free in this area, I realize this is why my culture (and others) treats women ┬álike sexual objects. The images presented from birth to adulthood are these Charo (actress with a flamboyant stage presence and usually bust revealing outfits) like “kootchy-kootchy” characters that exude sex! Is it any wonder why misogyny (dishonoring of women) is so rampant and women are so mistreated and abused?

Someone please respond and tell me to stop, get over myself, or that I might be on to something.

Anger Management

I recently taught on anger at church and during my preparation I saw more deeply how my stepfather’s unchecked anger did great damage to me, my family, friends and neighbors.

Proverbs 29:11 tells us that “fools give vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”

Anger unleashed has such a destructive impact. In my family it destroyed lives and physical bodies. Marked by our stepfather’s explosive anger and rage we then went on to act out our anger and rage in all too similar fashion. The way we express our anger is often learned in the home. We were “discipled” by a man that was frustrated, always complaining, and never pleasant. We learned unhealthy patterns of expressing anger. I’ve seen this anger manifest in every sibling and in myself. It is anger unleashed, without form, and it is dangerous.

Verse 29b of the aforementioned proverb tells us that “a hot-tempered person commits many sins.”

My stepfather got mad at neighbors, kids playing on the front lawn, extended family, the bill collectors, and anyone who looked at him the wrong way. He committed many sins in his rage and anger. Uncertain when he would explode, my siblings and I walked around on eggshells wondering who would be next to get yelled at, slapped, or beaten. Obviously I did not grow up in a grace filled nurturing environment.

How did you see anger expressed in your childhood? Were you nurtured in unhealthy ways of handling your anger?