Monday, May 06, 2013

Fitch and Holsclaw (1c) Post-Universal

The third post- in the first signpost is post-attractional.

The argument here is that language and worldview are no longer universal to everyone we meet. It is probably more correct to say that modern culture is approaches God and spirituality in diverse ways.

I am not sure if the world is as post-modern as Fitch and Holsclaw suggest. It is active in philosophy, literature and theology classes, but modernism is alive and well in the sciences and engineering. The political scientists and economists are not worried about avoiding the power of language, because they are looking for power to change the world in their image.

Adam, a commenter on the Jesus Creed said,

We are not leaving modernity behind, we are just now seeing it at its peak. We do have language and world view that are universal. Math is a universal language that transcends culture. Technology and science are similar, universal language and world views.

More and more we are straying into a world where Truth is “verified by experiment”. That is where the church has failed.
I agree with Adam’s view. We are living at a time when it is easier to communicate than ever. I can go to a statistical conference and speak in English to people from places as diverse as Finland and Iran, and talk about the issues that they are dealing with. I can email them to clarify things that I do not understand.

Adam’s point that “Truth is verified by experiment” is really important. People have tried looked at Christianity, perhaps superficially, but they have decided that it just does not work. They do not like our ethics, because they are harsh and cruel. Our rejection of abortion and hostility to homosexual marriage seems old fashioned an irrelevant. Modern people do not like Christians. They see them as arrogant and judgmental. They see Christian any as the cause of wars and sexual abuse.

The modern world may not have heard our message very clearly, but they have rejected it as untrue. People do not turn back to our God during times of crisis, because they do not believe he is able to help, even if he exists. The problem for Christianity is not that it is hard to communicate. The problem is that we have communicated and people are rejecting our message.

The core problem is not the confusion of language, or that people do not believe that truth exists. People have strong views about what is not true, and many have decided that Christianity is not true. Parts of it may be acceptable, but as a complete faith and work view, it is not true. This leaves us with a huge problem. We have a gospel that people have stopped trusting, because they have decided against believing it is true. We will not change their decision by arguing or shouting at them.

The problem is not really that we are living in a post-Christendom world. We have three more immediate problems.
  1. Church is boring
  2. Lack of numbers
  3. The world has decided that Christianity is not true.
Reading their chapter on the fist signpost again after writing my response, I would couch their three posts- slightly differently.
  1. People will not come to us.
    We will have to go to them.
    That means that most of what we are doing now does not work very well now, and will not work in the future.

  2. We do not have a position of authority in society.
    People can choose to ignore us. Many already are and more will.

  3. People have diverse beliefs about the spiritual and different experiences of religion.
    We cannot take anything for granted.
    A standard message will often fall on deaf ears.

I don't fully agree with their characterisation of the problem, but I like their solution.
We must enter each local context, each neighbourhood, each place of work, and each social space.

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