Culture is an amorphous thing to get one’s head around. We use it casually, and as if we all just understand what we mean; but do we? David Congdon offers a nice sketch and discussion of this in his book The Mission of Demythologizing, and I’d like to share a bit of what he has written for our consideration. Congdon writes:
Despite the problems associated with the word, it remains a useful nomenclature for whatever it is that differentiates one group of people from another. Notwithstanding his own misgivings about the concept, Eagleton provides a helpful definition of the word along these lines:
Culture can be loosely summarized as the complex of values, customs, beliefs and practices which constitute the way of life of a specific group. . . . Culture is just everything which is not generically transmissible. . . . Culture is the implicit knowledge of the world by which people negotiate appropriate ways of acting in specific contexts. Like Aristotle’s phronesis, it is more know-how than know-why, a set of tacit understandings or practical guidelines as opposed to a theoretical mapping of reality.
At a very general level, then, culture refers to the implicit categories and preunderstandings that differentiate some people from others. This “implicit knowledge” concerns the whole matrix of social relations constituted by linguistic, socioeconomic, religious, and other characteristics.
We will have occasion in the next chapter to flesh out this understanding of culture more concretely in relation to Bultmann. For now we can simply note that culture refers not to a theoretical Weltanschauung or worldview (“know-why”), but rather to the tacit Welthild or world-picture (“know-how”). The tensions and conflicts between cultures are related to the tensions and conflicts between divergent world-pictures. Understood in this way, the word “culture” indexes the prereflective factors related to why one person is strange to another person. These factors can be as broad as a nation or as narrow as a particular historical situation. At the same time, because cultures are not worldviews they are also plastic and permeable, open to the infinite possibilities of intercultural exchange and transcultural commingling. Cultures are intrinsically hybridizable. For this very reason the contested nature of the concept is appropriate to its contesting subject matter. The polysemy of the concept corresponds to the way cultures are continually bearing witness—that is, con (together) testare (testifying)—to the coexistence of multiple identities, the crossing and blurring and renegotiating of our various horizons and situations. Precisely in this way the idea of culture lends itself to missiological and hermeneutical reflection.
I don’t have much follow up on this. But I think something as basic as this goes a long way towards helping us engage the ‘culture.’ Even though, as Congdon and Eagleton help us understand, culture, as a word, symbolizes something that is prereflective; it is nevertheless helpful to be aware of this. As Christian theologians we are called to engage with the culture, even as we live in the culture. We are called to translate the new-culture, or the new-creation we have been brought into by the grace of God in Christ, and deliver this reality to the broader world.
One more point: the idea of culture being ‘related to why one person is strange to another person’ is very pertinent for the Christian reality. The Gospel, according to the Apostle Paul, is considered foolishness, dare we say ‘strange’ to the Greek. This illustrates the definition of culture as just presented. There is strangeness to the Gospel, and the culture it creates for those of us participant within its reality, precisely because it invades the various worldly cultures from another ground. The culture of Heaven is the true culture, or the culture that will last. The culture of Heaven is other-worldly, and yet because of Who God is, it has the capacity to accommodate itself to the cultures of this world; transforming and redeeming them from within. As God’s culture in Christ penetrates the cultures of the world, it provides these various threads with a telos and trajectory that can give them ultimate meaning. But it doesn’t leave these cultures unchanged or unhinged; indeed the culture of Heaven often contradicts and puts to death the cultures of the world that attempt to construct self-purpose apart from God’s self-sustaining purpose that is truly Life.
Whether we want to appropriate the concept of culture the way I have just done, either way, I think David’s notion of ‘culture’ is helpful in a basic and broad-sense way as we think about what in fact culture entails. It is something we take for granted on a daily basis, and as we can see this taken-for-grantedness, in regard to understanding what culture is, is in fact what culture is in many important ways. It is a tacit reality that we are groomed in and learn. But that said, as Christians we also understand that there are many things we ‘tacitly learn’ that need to be unlearned and repented of when confronted with the reality of Heaven’s culture; even as that other-worldly culture confronts us right where we are, and often in the forms of our various cultural nexuses. It is an inescapable fact that we are embedded and enculturated creatures. God knows this, and in His Wisdom and Capaciousness, He has the capacity to meet us where we are moment by moment afresh and anew. As we are confronted by Him in this midst, we can learn His ways of translation and accommodation to the broader cultures of the world; while at the same time not becoming captive to the cultures of the world that would seek to undercut the Heavenly culture we have become ambassadors of.
 Let the reader understand: Just because I refer to Congdon’s work does not mean I endorse the conclusions of his work in regard to the appropriation of Bultmann’s theology in the main. But I am committed to reading through the whole of his 800pp+ book in order to better critically engage with that sector of the Church. Not to mention that David presents much that can be constructively appropriated for those of us who still see value in the modern theological project. Anyway, this particular reference to Congdon has nothing to do with Bultmann, per se. Instead, it is more of a ground clearing point of development that David is engaged in, in order to more faithfully and critically engage with the implications of Bultmann’s work. I am lifting this quote, as it were, as a pre-text, and then using it differently than David does in his work.
 David W. Congdon, The Mission Of Demythologizing: Rudolf Bultmann’s Dialectical Theology (Minneapolis: Fortess Press, 2015), 528-30.