The Cultural Ayin is largely a combination of exploration and wisdom. Through my own life situation, I've discovered I enjoy research and investigation of particular aspects of culture. In my case, I have a specific interest in Christian culture and how it shapes both people and community. As a result of my own fascination, I have gone on a journey conducting research on issues that are predominantly of interest to Christians within the church. For instance, how the New Covenant was implemented in local groups who called themselves an "ekkelsia." I am also interested in issues that impact society as a whole, but through a Christian cultural lens. As a result, much of my investigatory research is geared toward Christians who desire to have a personal impact on those around them in keeping with New Covenant principles.
Another aspect The Cultural Ayin examines is symbols and meaning in culture. N.T. Wright sums up much of what I have recognized about culture. In an article on his blog he writes, "At the heart of worldview-analysis stands symbol. This is usually something concrete, either an object or a particular lifestyle of behaviour or life." We can see this in how we live, what we create, and what we chose to honor and cherish in all its forms. For me largely, it's what we worship since we pretty much emulate what we worship. If you worship science, science will be your primary go-to. It doesn't of course mean, there are not other variables. If one loves science there are other pieces such as literature and reason, induction, morality [however you define it], and tangibility. This will be applied across one's life shaping and molding values, innovation, creativity, and life decisions of all kinds. Along with symbols goes the narrative.  It's the ensuing story or in my own words and thoughts, it's the history. It's the story the symbols tell us about where we came from, how things are now, and where we are going. There is a story behind each symbol; a meaning that creates modern day culture. Sometimes it is steeped in the oldness of a long held tradition that we often simply accept or take for granted as having been the "true way" of things since time immortal. Sometimes its sparkly new. Nevertheless, it speaks about who we are individually and as a much larger community.
The Cultural Ayin is about legacy retrieval, and building. What that means involves several aspects. First, all restoration requires retrieval. Humanity's past is spotted and speckled with brokenness, oppression, love, redemption, coupled with splashes of hope and unremitting change. There are valuable things to be gleaned and learned and something to be pulled forward and pursued today. After retrieval comes the conversation for building a hope-filled legacy in the here and now. It's called creating culture.
As a result of this mission, I spend a great deal of time combing through history [with the Holy Spirit] looking for retrieval points, rebuilding points, and places to use as a springboard. It is not nostalgia for the past, but as the next generation, building on the legacy of those who came before. I examine cultural symbols, follow bread crumb trails, and piece together other cultural options available to us as humanity. In essence The Cultural Ayin is the outcropping of an investigative journey. A new way to see life and community. The Cultural Ayin is also centered on empowering and emboldening people to become change agents in their spheres of life by examining current culture, how we got here, is it worth holding onto, and taking part in creating today something that is impactful and good to enhance our tomorrow. In other words, each of us has the ability to have a profound daily impact on lives around us for the common good. Much of this involves shifting mindsets to see the challenges life throws at us as ways to empower, encourage, and help each other. There is a way, and there is wisdom. Any change always begins in our own house.
As part of The Cultural Ayin, I actual do a type of ministry life-coaching which is designed to help people who desire to walk out Christ's redemptive plan in their own lives and become effective leaders in whatever they are doing.
If you are a Christian, this website is geared as an investigation or "journey of discovery." It is not, shall we say, "theological doctrine." While I do discuss a variety of doctrine, and even at times completely disagree with what has been taught in the past or in the present, I'm not claiming to be a theologian. I don't claim to be a historian, an anthropologist, or an expert. My background is in political science and mental health counseling. I don't exactly claim those actual credentials either. In the end, I actually expect people to do their own digging and praying. Everything I write is "food for thought."
For those who are not Christian, I do openly tackle difficult questions within Christian sub-culture. I do attempt to lessen Christianese to help those who may stumble upon my work. Take what you would like. My hope is to show that the New Covenant found in Jesus is not what it has been made out to be and that often God gets a bad rap because of us Christians. On the other hand, I also intend to do some real talking about what it means to take seriously the discipleship offer of Jesus the Christ and how Christianity actually can and ought to have a very positive force on society. I am a Christian. I do not have a real beef with anyone but I have been bothered by what I see and experience within the church. I am asking real questions, however. I am challenging. But I am also encouraging and sharing the interesting pieces of community that are part of community legacy.
The Cultural Ayin works off of projects or topics that exist in larger files. Project reports utilize art and imagery as well as valid prophecy and teaching. While I do investigate controversial topics, I also research seemingly benign issues. Part of my strategy is to bring attention to matters. Another part of my strategy is to be in a position to listen. From there, edification, encouragement, wisdom, and some occasional authorized "bone cracking" is found.
I'm spirit-led and I believe understanding scripture and what God is up too is a "Spirit and truth" proposition. It isn't something the "old creation" is going to understand - like ever. Our old creation is always at enmity with the plans of God. So while I dig through history and other similarly disposed disciplines of academic understanding, it's with the understanding I'm not in it for the world. I'm in it for God to help His Bride. All of this is aimed squarely at the church - His house.
The Cultural Ayin is a bit of a peculiar name and of course, the Opaki logo makes it all the more strange. The word "ayin" is Hebrew for eye. Literally, this is The Cultural Eye. More specifically, it's a website with an eye for culture. The Opaki is an interesting animal. It is part of the giraffe family but only lives in the Congo. It is a much smaller animal with a much shorter neck that looks like at creation, it sat in God's zebra paint. Because the Opaki is its own creature, related to another animal that looks quite a bit different but also contains patterns of an entirely DIFFERENT animal [the zebra] I thought the animal best represented diversity in culture while still being a self-contained unique species located in a single geographic region. It's an animal picture of diverse people living together as one nation. It's also an illustration of symbol plus narrative creating culture.
I am seeking to look through the lens of God’s love and redemptive passion. I pray through literally everything. This framework is to know God as love as written in 1 John 4:7-8. For instance, what is God’s perspective on how to handle this situation in His love? How does this epoch demonstrate God's love and who He is as love? How is God redeeming this and us too? I seek the revelation of God as love and I ask Him to show this to me. He is a God geared toward relationship and He hardwired that into us.
God is attempting to get our attention in these hours. So many - too many - are a little too bent on wrath and judgement, when Jesus came to not only save, but destroy the works of the devil. He is also geared toward restoration and redemption. If He wanted everyone condemned, no need for Christ - ever. As a result, the simplest way of looking at The Cultural Ayin is as a place to learn about being in right relationship with God, each other, and the planet through the lens of His love and redemptive purpose.
It is always important to test what you hear or read. We are all learning and often what we are learning is governed by whatever Christ is showing in our life in a season or point of time. It is always good to be prayerful and kind if what you see is different from what I see. We are all on different Jesus journeys but it's the same Jesus. Above all, I believe any revelation I come to understand should further conform me to the image of Christ and in the demonstration of the fruits of His Spirit in keeping with the image and likeness of God. He shouldn't do anything less for you.
Because I am researching culture and engaging cultural symbols and narratives, I use art. I use art to create culture as my own modern contribution to positive and lasting change toward love and peace, but I also use art to explore issues and history. Zayin Hope is my personal art thing. While it isn't its own website, all of that part of my life is found here under Just Art.
I also traverse the Internet and often find little gems of community. In the Resource section I list other websites that may help you on your own Jesus journey. Any views expressed on those websites, however, are not necessarily my own views nor are they affiliated with anything I am doing with The Cultural Ayin (or Zayin Hope or Zebra B). Because I share these places, there is no implied connection between their ministry or what I am doing. What I express is not endorsed by any of the websites or ministries presented. I obviously do not control the content or writing in those communities and as a result they may express views I agree or disagree with in some form or another. It's up to any referral to make their own choice and form their own conclusion.
I don't believe science is irrelevant but informative. While sciences, hard or soft, don't always seem to agree with what Christianity believes, it doesn't mean we have to make it a practice to throw scientific study out the window. I think we need to be a discerning body of believers, not a reactive one. While I too go through periods of struggling with how everything fits together, I do know the One who has everything moving toward further reconciliation toward Himself. As a result, I do examine science. I do use science. As with anything, I chose to be Spirit-led in that direction.
The messages I write about are geared more toward Christians in general but also Christians who believe in the gifts and are active in more of an Acts like environment specifically. With that said, absolutely anyone is welcome.
"Jesus said to them, 'I am fed by doing the will of the one who sent me and by completing his work.'"
John 4:34 (CEB)
Citation and Notations:
 Wright, N.T. (FEbruary 5, 20140. Historical Paul and 'Systemic Theology': To Start A Discussion. Theology Graduate Seminar. Retrieved on June 16, 2016.
 I have been hurt by Christianity for as long as I can remember - both as someone who has not been a Christian and as a Christian. My hope is not to use any of this platform to create wounding, but rather to talk about healing. Wayward is my own life story where I am brutally honest about where I have been inside and outside of Christianity. I have struggled with Christianity and continue to do so on many levels as a culture - primarily because it is abrasive and arrogant and a bit too self-righteous for my personal taste of relational living. My point is, I do attempt to approach things with fresh eyes so I may learn and change.
 I focus on love because I believe it's the central focus of God's nature and all fruit for the Spirit springs from it. In otter words, love is joyful, patient, kind, gentle, humble, peace loving, etc.