Wednesday, September 23, 2015

culture bsn

After asking (not answering yet) our four quick questions (fill in the answers immediately with your very first gut instinct):

  • 1)"In England, they drive on the ___________ side of the road"
  • 2)"Boy, you can sure tell that_______________ is at work in the secular world nowadays!  All you have to do is look around!"
  • 3)"Israel is on the continent of __________."
  • 4)How many of you are in a cross-cultural marriage? ____
We'll answer all these tonight at some point.

How do you define culture?

So many possible definitions:

  • Dallas Elder:Culture is the heritage and identity of a people group which is manifested in their shared language, customs, behavioral patterns, values, beliefs and ideas; and which distinctively define the people group. "
  • Paul Hiebert:  “learned patterns of behavior, ideas and products characteristic of a [group of people]."
  • Simone Weil:  "What is culture?  The formation of attention."
  • Other definitions here
  • Interesting  the  definition of culture within a hospital
How about:

   "a way of thinking, feeling, valuing and acting by one or more people."

We'll work at defining that as we go along tonight.

Cam you "feel it...when you go to work; when you go to your church"?
Is it "all around you...the world that has been pulled over your eyes?":

You each have your own culture(s),
            you work in a hospital that has its own culture (s)
                   doctors, workers and patients each with their own cultures.
Every encounnter is cross-cylturak.
                   and you may be used to an agent of institutional/cultural change there
                          You may even have caught your hospital's culture in time of shift.

Which means it's more malleble than you might think.

  Graham Cooke:

"When the old wineskin is dying, the new wineskin is created by people who are not afraid to be vulnerable. " 

Which in turn may be based on the line by Rudolph Bahro,  ecologist:

"When the forms of an old culture are dying, the new culture is created by a few people who are not afraid to be insecure."

Paul Tillich:

"Whenever a new period is conceived in the womb of the preceding period, a new image of man pushes toward the surface and finally breaks through to find its artists and philosophers.

Do you see yorself (as a nurse embedded in a hospital system/culture
 as a cultural change agent? yourself as:
  • vulnerable
  • insecure
  • artist
  • philosopher ?   (:
 Not the usual categories for change agent, are they?

Communities, cohort,, organizations, hospitals:    all acquire their own subculture (sharing inhouse jokes), and so can get  ineffective and ingrown.  Any system is vulnerable to systemic evil.

One would hate to think of a hospital system  (or church) as ever becoming uncaring, but  your Chapman teadings  for tonight
offer help on ovecoming such tendencies, and building care into the system.

Oh, speaking of inhouse (BOUNDED SET) jokes:

Often those in caregiving careers/ministries...such as yourselves..
face a deep dilemma and profound paradox.. you care intensely..but ironically,
you live and work  embedded in a system/matrix that "cannot" care.

Have you noticed that certain professions;
clergy, funeral directors, counselors doctors and NURSES
have "inhouse" jokes that might seem irreverent to outsiders to our "bounded set."?  At its best, it's one way of keeping your sanity and remaining caring.
Watch this  below...( well listen anyway, it's only audio) for a humorous example from those famous "theologians," Cheech and Chong (!!)in an old skit about Friday night employees of the E.R.:


Click the title below to read a related hilarious story:
one of my all-time favorite stories. Unfortunately, it's true!
From Eugene Peterson's "Under the Unpredictable Plant:

Sex and Drugs in Church: Peterson on Why the System Can't Care

All this to tie into "Hospitals and Those In Them) Need the Word of God," Fresno pastor/ajunct FPU professor  Chris Erdman's amazing chapter 14 in "Countdown to Sunday," four pages that for me are as chillingly accurate,
and practically pastoral as anything in the massive "pastoral help" library.
As a pastor still wet behind my ears, I truly felt intimidated by the bravado of hospital technology and shrank before it. I didn't know then that the hospital itself, as much as the patients I went to visit, also needed to hear the Word of God in order to be what God intended it to be--an agent of divine grace, occupying its place as servant, not master...

I might not always carry a Bible [on hospital visits], but I always carry a text in mind that I speak among all the bleeps and blips and pokes. Hosting the text there among the gods of steel and electricity and drugs and know-how is vital work. The technology no longer intimidates me...

..So today, as I enter hospital doors and walk those hallways and sit beside beds and in waiting rooms and open those texts of ours. I don't stand and shout the Word--it's a power that doesn't need my strength or my energy. As I  do, I not oy see the persons who need this Word leaning in, but I sense the walls themselves bending near...The real weapons that bring wholeness and peace are not machines but words, as small and feeble as they may seem. And all we have to do is mutter them.
Chris Erdman, "Countdown to Sunday," pp 71-73.

Reading this in the very real context and contour of a week of hospital visits to the sweetest saint imaginable; surrounded helplessly but not hopelessly by those bleeps and pokes and machines has brought tears to my eyes and whole images from Chris's chapter to bear on the situation.
I have never been one for wanting to look very pastorly/religious on hospital calls. I don't even park in the clergy parking! 

And like a good stealth pastor, I keep my small pocket Bible tucked away.

But I can now pull it out to pay a pastoral (and prophetic) call on the relentless beeping heart monitor.  Gently, I rage against the machine; I do not welcome myself to it or its domain.
Instead, I Word it back to its creative and redemptive purpose. And I have seen, like Chris, "medical people who know firsthand the limits of these gods and who themselves long to hear the Bible read in this place that often intimidates them too--they've seen the soft underbelly of the beast that demands their homage."

"Resistance is the protest of those who hope,"
as Jürgen Moltmann has it ( "The Power of the Powerless").

(above excerpted from my blog post: "Gentle Rage Against the HospitalMachines"

Can you change the culture of a hospital by doing something seemingly small like:
changing the language (and thereby culture_ of the ER room?

See Chapman pp.

when you choose your language, you create a new (and healing culture)

Every culture has tokens and totems

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