“Don’t be so heavenly bound that you are no earthly good.” Someone, at church, shared this with me back around the year 2000. It has always stayed with me. I live in the world. I am influenced by the culture and the times we live in, AND I love God. Yet, when God called me to ministry, I was very reluctant. It was not because I didn’t want to be of service. It was not that I didn’t want to do some “good.” To the contrary, it was because I didn’t want anything to do with church. I didn’t want to be involved with an institution that was so out of touch with “the real world.”

As a “church kid,” I have lived, first-hand, the trauma and drama that can live within the walls of the church. I was privy to the hurtful judgements that were passed onto those of us who did not fit the mold of “perfection.” And so, I walked away. At the time, many proclaimed that I had walked away from God. However, that was not my truth. God and I were cool. It was the toxic environment of the church that I was on the outs with. And although I  believed that I had made the best decision for myself, I still found myself seeking...something. I was missing the validation of fellowship. In my heart I knew that there were others like me, and I wanted to connect with them.

So, when God gave me the idea for Poor Culture, I knew we had to be different. We could not, as believers have done for centuries, separate ourselves from the world. We could not offer just a space on Sunday without addressing the issues of living that we all face everyday. That’s why I believe that For The Culture (FTC) is imperative. 

FTC is an online companion to our live gatherings, social media posts, and our podcast “Deeper Conversations,” offering curated inspirations, information, practices, and level-up content for those of us seeking to live a God First Lifestyle. The intention is to inspire and encourage our daily practice of putting God first. Because when we live this lifestyle, it benefits the culture. A culture of people who profess to be “spiritual not religious” and profess to love God but “ain’t perfect” are seeking a place or space to stretch out. People are seeking a space to be spiritually feed and intellectually nourished. People are seeking a place that rises up to meet them exactly where they are. I know they are seeking because I too was seeking. I was seeking to be my authentic self, and to do earthly good. I was seeking community. So I hope that you will join us here, and begin practicing a God First Lifestyle. Do it For the Culture, Poor Culture.

Karmen Michael Smith