As I read the book, Snowflower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See, I am astounded by the Chinese cultural practice of foot binding. The Chinese women bind their feet to prevent further growth; smaller feet displays beauty and social standing. As the women are foot-bound, they are helpless, and unable to work and walk properly, but they do it for social standing and for finding a good husband.
I wonder how certain practices came to be in different cultures. What makes people think that it’s right and good?
As I reflect, I can think of practices today that are just as weird, if not horrific. Though, what one society finds acceptable may not be acceptable to another.
Do we ever learn from history? Society continues to advance, governments change, things get more complex, people get more and more busy, new popular ways of doing things come about. Through all the change and cultural fusion around the world, we still have wars, slavery, and other bad practices. Why?
Now, I love culture and learning about different societies and keeping different traditions, but I wonder – Why do cultural practices clash with God’s way of living?
I may not understand it all and I don’t know if we can wipe away all those crazy and immoral practices completely. But I do know that we can set a good example for others to follow, to live a life of justice and goodness and morality, and to do what we can to stand up for good change. We could donate to a good cause, help someone who gets put down, vote for an amendment, embrace a positive cultural tradition, and overall let our faith and goodness radiate outward.
I pray that God changes our world for the better. May leaders be guided by their faith to change laws and bring justice. May people become who they want to be, without being restricted by cultural practices. May there be peace, love, joy, and freedom for all.
Enlighten us, O Lord and help us to see what is good. Help us to focus on what’s good and important in our culture. May we live more enlightened and free from ungodly practices. Amen.