We live in a globalised, inter- connected world, where the famous butterfly effect of physics (the flapping of the wings of butterfly in one part of the world has its influence on other parts of the world) is a reality. There are strong attempts from each sections of the society to influence the other.
We have terrorists, fundamentalists, advertisers, politicians, leaders of various kind trying to gather followers by promoting their ideologies. When all these occur in the larger society, we have parents, teachers, religious leaders trying to inculturate their children in small societies. This is all the more common with immigrants and closed groups. We have the culture of the present day trying to influence through movies and other means; many are trying to get the allegiance of the undecided and try to convert the dissatisfied in any group.
In the past, the urban rich has looked down upon the traditions of the locals as superstitions; they looked for industrialization; the committed activists spoke of education and other aspects. This way of inculturation leads them to loosing the relationship with the nature. Today, in the world of ecological damage, we speak of re-building those relationships. Whether all the attempts to inculturate was beneficial is a question?
Jesus calls his disciples to be the salt of the earth, to bring taste and flavour. (Surely wrong interpretations of many biblical sayings have done considerable damage). But today the question is whether we are inculturated by the world or vice-versa? Or a better way to put it is, are we inculturated by the positive activities in the world (justice, charity, compassion, dialogue, expressions of true love) or by the negative images (corruption, fundamentalism, nationalism, terrorism)? It is a significant question for the religious organizations, social organizations and for all sections of people.
Another side of the story is the willingness of educated like me to be inculturated by science & technology, culture, economics, developmental strategies. Surely there is a lot of wisdom and knowledge in these categories. But there is a lot of wisdom in the experiences of simple people. Are we ready to be inculturated by the poor, farmers, less-educated parents and by the wisdom of the creation around us. For an integral and holistic growth of the person’s or societies, they should be inculturated both by the intellectual ideas & wisdom and grass-root ideas & wisdom.