The words, ‘Culture Shaper’, stirs something in my soul. It’s the same feeling I get when Frodo, in The Lord of the Rings is declared as a Ring Bearer.

It calls me, like a mighty echo. 

I envision standing on the edge of a cliff, the wind whipping through my unruly hair, the crisp outdoors waking all five senses until I’m fully alive and then raising my voice in a great warrior call and shouting, “I am a Culture Shaper.” 

Maybe that’s a bit too dramatic for you, but I think we need inspiration to move from being ‘just dreamers’ to ‘active players’ in this game of life.

Culture Dies When You’re Perspective Is To Be Cost Effective 

I was walking through the city when this idea came to me. I’d passed a large construction site for yet another skyscraper, when I turned the corner to see a building a hundred years older than myself.

It’s a beautiful old thing, huge doors with ironwork decals, there are intricate carvings at the corners, and around each window. In all, the building is a work of art, not just another cookie cutter block of real-estate.

So what am I rambling on about? What is a Culture Shaper? It’s someone who defies the norm to create and build something beautiful. 

How often, in our own lives, do we go for the cost effective block over the old beauty?

We all want to save as much money as we can. We buy cheaply made clothes, sit in our own versions of the Ikea living room, and even celebrate momentous moments on a budget of not only money, but time. 

While there’s nothing wrong with these things (life is busy for most of us) I still believe we need to start thinking about the things we personally create and the time we actually invest in those around us.

Creating Culture Takes Changing Our Perspectives On Daily Life

Let me get down to the nitty-gritty. And also, the less glamorous bits of being a Culture Shaper. 

That image I had at the beginning, of standing on the edge of a cliff? Yeah, in real life I’d be shaking from the cold wind, my hair would be tying itself in knots and my stomach would be flipping at the extreme drop. Oh, and when I yell in my warrior whoop? My voice comes out strained and high-pitched, very unlike a warrior.

Being a Culture Shaper takes heaps of effort.

It comes down to how we choose to live on a minute by minute basis.

For example, I’m a storyteller. I can whip up a solid short story in no time, but it’ll lack the work and time the great stories take.

Likewise, I can pop down to Macca’s for a quick dinner, or I could stay home and learn to make lasagne from a friend.

Being a Culture Shaper, means taking the long road. Means slowing down a bit, actually taking time to smell the flowers. But most importantly, it means bringing others with us. 

It can be relatively easy to change our own habits and daily routines, but you don’t become a Culture Shaper until you bring someone with you to smell the flowers.

For some, this may be a bit outside your comfort zone, but I promise you, it’s worth it. Have a think about where you can change your own perspective. For me, I know it’s time to start saying “Yes” to more of the activities I normally hide from.

I’ve become a bit lazy. If there’s something happening that sounds a bit draining or uncomfortable, I shake my head and say “Pass”. It’s time for me to change. To put in the long and uncomfortable hours. To invest in the people around me.

It’s time to be a Culture Shaper.

You up for the challenge? 

-Charis Jackson

Written for Christian Today