Season 3 | Episode 2

Don’t Fit In? It Might be the Culture.

How does your mental narrative response to reality shape your sense of belonging?

Drawing from biblical stories and modern perspectives, we can learn to navigate different environments and find fulfillment through serving and creating our own culture. This is a thought-provoking discussion on embracing uniqueness and finding purpose in cultural diversity.

This episode talks about:

  • Why you should ignore culture at your own peril.
  • Why you shouldn’t expect to change culture, but rather you should learn to serve.
  • The importance of creating your own culture.


Hey, how’s it going? My name is Adam Lee Rosenfeld, and this is the podcast Beauty Truth, where I talk about the connection between culture, the arts, and certain truths that are older than us, that are older even in the culture and arts that we’re experiencing right now. Spiritual truths, foundational truths, stuff that is big deal stuff. I thought I’d begin by talking about me for five seconds. I love skateboarding, as you can see in the background here. I love indie rock music. I love comic books. And these things have a certain culture. They all fit together in a certain way. As a result, I don’t always belong. I don’t always feel like I fit in in certain environments, particularly ones that are faith-based, but not only. Organizational environments, work environments, and many others. And the reason I bring that up is because I want you to ask yourself, do you feel like you don’t belong? Is it possible that you feel like you don’t belong in your job, or you feel like you don’t belong in your school, or you feel like you don’t belong in your your congregation? And I think it’s safe to assume that all of us, in a certain way, in certain environments, we feel like we don’t belong.

And today, I want to talk about what do we do when we feel like we don’t belong? How do we wrangle? How do we wrestle with this idea? And there was something that I had read by reading the book Mind Your Minds set by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt-Miller. And connecting that with a certain Bible story from the gospel, I had a revelation. And I want to talk to you about that revelation today. So I want to jump to the story of the transfiguration from Matthew 17. And we have this situation where there are disciples, and we have Jesus or Yeshua standing on this mountain And if you’re familiar with the story of the transfiguration, you know that Moses appeared and Elijah appeared. This is powerful stuff. This is a big moment. And maybe you’re familiar with the story, but Peter responded. There was a significant moment, and Peter crafted a response. And his response was, let’s build a tabernacle for all three, for Moses, for Elijah, for Jesus, for Yeshua. And it said something very interesting. It said he didn’t know what he was saying. And even after he made that statement, maybe you’re familiar with it, even after he made that statement, The situation changed.

The whole situation changed. And the transfiguration was no longer a transfiguration. Moses and Elijah had disappeared. Now, why am I bringing this up? Because I think Peter gets a bad rap. We think like, Ha ha, Peter, what were you thinking to build a tabernacle for Moses and Elijah? Why weren’t you tracking with Jesus during the transfiguration? Why did you say something that you didn’t know what you were saying? And here is where I want to nail down a definition of culture that might help you. If you look in the dictionary, you’ll find the definition of culture. And I don’t even think it’s really that helpful. The definitions you’ll find in the dictionary. I am going to propose you a new definition of culture that I think is incredibly helpful. And I got this from reading the Transfiguration, and I got it from reading the book Mind Your Mindset, it by Michael Hyatt and Megan Hyatt-Miller. Culture is a narrative mental response to reality. I’ll say it again. Culture is a narrative mental response to reality. And what I’m saying is that things happen and our mind tells a story. Things happen to us. And in order to process what’s happening, in many ways, in order to survive, our own mind is telling a story.

And sometimes those stories are spot on, and sometimes those stories just change within seconds. Sometimes they’re erroneous, they’re wrong, they can even be morally wrong. But it’s our mind working. It has to do with the state of our mind. I had an instance where I was traveling and I was meeting a lot of new people. I don’t travel that much. I don’t meet a lot of new people that often. And I happen to travel and meet a lot of new people in the course of a week. Every time I met one new person, I had a new narrative response like, Oh, this person is going to be my new friend. Oh, this person is somebody that we can follow up with. This person is somebody who can do this with. And it was So many narrative responses that I couldn’t possibly follow all those paths. So it was almost like I didn’t know what I was thinking. Like Peter, he didn’t even know what he was saying. It was just a way that my brain was processing meeting new people and being in a new environment. And after about a week or so of getting back, my brain settled down to a manageable narrative.

And here are three points that I want to help you with. Now, it might be possible that you are in an environment where you feel like you don’t belong. Maybe it’s your work environment, maybe it’s your church or congregational environment. But I have found from being a part of many evangelical organizations that whenever God does something, just like the transfiguration, God shows up, a culture gets created. And many of the things that I saw happen in different organizations organizations weren’t necessarily spiritual things, but they were cultural things. I found out that the staff would say some of the same words. They would have their own little lingo and jargon. They would dress in the same way. These things aren’t what we say in Hebrew, Torah from Sinai. They aren’t rules that you need to follow. You don’t have to follow exactly the way an organization dresses or the words that an organization use. But if you don’t do so, sometimes you can feel out of place. So if we ignore the fact that there is a culture going on, then we do that at our own peril. There is a culture going on. And many of those organizations were started by people that experienced something great, like the transfiguration even, and they gave a narrative response to their mind.

They said, We’re going to get a building, and we’re going to do an organization, and we’re going to have worship meetings, and we’re going to have community meetings, and so on and so forth. So number one, I want to say, like I said, ignore culture at your own peril. But number two, be careful if you think you can change culture. Sometimes we think that we can come into a place with a different culture and we can change that culture. And maybe we can change our work culture or we can change our congregational culture or school culture. And I want to be wary of that because the culture serves a purpose. And don’t be so sure that you are the person who’s going to change that. If you find yourself spending every day just going up against people and going up the culture of an organization, you’re not going to be very happy. The key in a situation like this is simply to serve. And that’s not an easy thing. It’s a simple thing, but it’s not an easy thing to find out how you can serve, how you can serve that culture. And a third and final point is that you have your own culture.

You have your own mental narrative response to reality. And it is probably different than other cultures and then other people’s mental narrative response to reality. But that doesn’t mean it’s bad. It just means that it’s different. And you might find yourself in a different place. So if you find that you don’t belong somewhere, I’ll tell you, it’s not you. It might just be vulture. And if you can get to that point where you realize that, you can be a lot happier. And if you still need to be in that place, make your focus on serving, not changing the culture, but serving. And Finally, I want to encourage you, wherever possible, to create your own culture. And that might be your life’s work. It might take you years to do so. But there might be time where you raise the flag, you call people to action, and you take a mental response, narrative response to reality, and you start your own organization, your own church or congregation, or your own movement, your art, your own culture. Thanks.

April 18, 2024

Let's change culture together. 

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