Saturday, 13 October 2007

Definitions of Post-modernism

I've decided to take a short break from the series on Evangelism and instead want to look again at Post-modernism and what it means for Christians today.Walter Truett Anderson humorously gives us an insight into this in his book Reality Isn't What It Used to Be…. A premodern baseball umpire would have said something like this: 'There's balls, and there's strikes and I call 'em as they are.' A modernist would have said, 'There's balls and there's strikes, and I call 'em as I see 'em.' And the postmodernist umpire would say, 'They ain't nothing until I call 'em.' In brief, all reality is subject dependent. The postmodernist frames reality by naming aspects at his or her whim…. We are locked into this postmodern mindset, or at least some elements of it…. The disorientation is thus double-edged, both external and internal."
—Ravi Zacharias, from "An Ancient Message, through Modern Means, to a Postmodern Mind" in Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns

"The term postmodern ("pomo" for short) is used to denote a 40-year transition from an Information Age to a Bionomic Age that will begin no later than 2020. My generation (the Boomers) and our children (Gen-Xers and Net-Gens) are the transitional generations to this new world. The Net-Gens (those born after 1981) will be the first ones to really live the majority of their time in the new world. We Boomers will make it to the river, but we won't cross over. The crossover to a post-postmodern world will be made by the generations that follow ours."
—Leonard Sweet, SoulTsunami

Is Leonard Sweet right? Do you agree with him that those under thirty will all have a postmodern mindset? Will there not be a mixture of modern and post-modern within every generation and for that matter within a single person? What challenge does post-modernism bring to the Church as regards evangelism. More than ever we need to 'double listen' i.e. listen to the people we seek to reach as well as listen to God through His word and the Spirit within.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the past, a great deal of effective evangelism has been done by teaching key Scripture verses about sin, grace, and salvation. Christian preachers have been able to assume the basic building blocks of a Christian world view. Even when people chose not to believe in God, it was the Christian God they chose not to believe in! Evangelism was rather like hanging washing on a clothesline that was already in place…. The problem in trying to reach postmodern people is that there is no clothesline. So when we try to hang our texts, they fall to the ground in a messy heap.

"The great challenge before the preacher is to put up the clothesline. Our task is to present the big story and to persuade postmodern people that it is true. In pursuing this, we have much to learn from our friends in northern Thailand and India. They know that it is not enough to present disconnected truths about peace or fulfillment or family life. We will certainly speak about all of these things, but we must find ways of connecting them clearly to the person and work of Jesus Christ."
—Colin S. Smith, "Keeping Christ Central in Preaching" in Telling the Truth: Evangelizing Postmoderns