Friday, March 10, 2006

More Conversation on the Emerging Church

Ok, this is the last time I'll do this for a while, but like I told you yesterday I've been involved in a couple of conversations regarding the emerging church, postmodernity, modernity, and Christianity over at the GCM Message Boards. In a thread called Postmodern/Modern Theology Quiz (a different thread than the one I mentioned yesterday), someone asked me if I thought everyone who was not "a postmodern" was "a modern". I offered the following as a response to that question and much of the conversation thus far:

I am not of the belief that everyone who is not PM is "a Modern". I'm relatively sure that we each fall on sort of a continuum of these philosophies/epistemologies. I would even include Medieval or Pre-modern (which I don't like but have also heard used), or Pre-Enlightenment, or Pre-Colonial, or whatever you wish to call it. Certainly, if we are speaking in a global sense, these views are also still prevalent, though I am quite sure that they "show up" in a North American context as well. However, what seems to be happening in the North American context is that each successive generation is exhibiting more tendency toward the Postmodern side of the continuum. What some of us are simply trying to do is reach them without adding the additional step of having to convert them to Modernity in order to be able to convert them to Christianity. We believe that the Gospel is not dependant on Modernity. We believe that it can engage postmodern culture, though it certainly will look and sound different. I know that last sentence freaks some people out, but hear me out before you start gathering stones Wink . Communicating the same message using a different epistemology is much like communicating the same message in a different language. Though the same, it will be almost intelligible to those who don't speak the language. This does NOT mean that those who can't understand (on either "side") are stupid or wrong. They speak different languages. We don't think that we have to teach someone Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic in order for them to read the Bible and understand it (sure it would be helpful.) We translate it into English. We don't think that people have to be converted to a first century Jewish epistemology (or a first century Gentile epistemology) in order to convert to Christianity. We have historically "translated" the Gospel (following the example of Paul) into the culture we find ourselves in. We translated it for the Medieval world. We translated it for the Modern World. Now some of us are trying to translate it for the Postmodern world.