The sort of maintenance of meaning I am referring to here is far different from the sort of static maintenance one sometimes finds in overly bureaucratic institutions. Unfortunately, the power structures in institutions can maintain themselves by fostering a rote repetition of the traditions of the past, instead of the active questioning and probing characteristic of cultural agents.28 There is an intentionality of sorts here, but its greatest achievement is muteness and the "chains of command" kind of obedience fostered by the military. In my view, when such bureaucratic maintenance infects religious institutions, the eventual result will be the death of meaning and the gradual fading out of the religious system.
In this chapter I have tried to present Raymond Williams's approach to culture, with its particular value of helping us see how meaning is produced and functions in a social order. If "culture" is in fact one of the two or three most complex words in the English language, the history of the word may help us think about the varied uses of the word today while maintaining an active meaning for ourselves. These distinctions help us understand the relation of religion to culture, and why a religion uses its own meanings as the lens through which culture can be viewed and judged.
In Chapter 3, 1 wish to look at two additional features of culture: the reproduction of culture in schools and the problem this reproduction poses for religious schools, and the question of how culture produces a structure of feeling in particular generations.