Postmodernism, Premodernism, Cross-cultural-ism, & Denominationalism

I came to a realisation the other day – I am post-modern. I know that may come as a shock to some of you (particularly if you are over 46, a pastor, or former classmate). You see, for the past how many years I have been hearing about how Postmodernism is bad. It will be the end of the church, the end of evangelism, the end of those who love the truth because (it is said) postmodernism is anti-truth/is a choose-your-own-truth system/is fuzzy in the truth area. Of course it’s not true. Postmodernists value truth just as much as the next guy – its getting to the truth that is a different process. Moderns say, “Tell me that something is the truth and I will believe it” while Postmoderns say, “Show me that something is true and I will believe it.” Not really much difference when you get right down to it. In terms of testimonies, Moderns spend more time telling what Scripture showed them about themselves, while Postmoderns spend more time telling how the truths of Scripture were proven in their experience.

Fine, so now I have fessed up to being postmodern. I have another problem. I don’t live in the culture within which I was born. To help you understand, imagine being a person whose facial expression show anger more frequently than joy living in a place where a look on your face can destroy a friendship (or at least make things difficult for a while). Or perhaps a person whose voice is not always calm and from time to time (or is it all the time?) gets louder and more forceful in his vocal expression, living in a place where a raised voice can also destroy a friendship.

So now I am a constantly-angry guy with fuzzy-truth issues. Wait, it gets better!

I live in a world that in it’s religious thought is pre-modern but its popular thought is post-modern. Did you notice that the word Modern didn’t appear anywhere in that list? Yes, it truly does seem that while I grew up in that bastion of modernity (see my comments on being post-modern above), I now live in a place that is missing that whole school of thought and jumping ahead to something better and brighter. So much for my life and all my training and etc. etc. etc. …

So what ties it all together? How can I survive this hodge-podge life that I have been given? How can I effectively minister in this world? It all comes down to a simple message that people across all of these cultural, intellectual, and social strata share; namely that of the Good News of Jesus Christ.

In perhaps one of the greatest misunderstandings of the modern Christian age, denominationalism has been seen as one of the greatest dividing forces in the church. There is a tremendous perception of a lack of Christian unity because of the abundance of Christian denominations. While there may be some truth to that (some churches split over the dumbest reasons) in fact quite the opposite is true. When you look at the vast array of denominations that are available to the average consumer, you will notice that each group represents a certain specific school of thought. Each group is also absolutely dedicated to the Jesus Christ to whom the Good News refers. In fact, denominations could be described as a creative way of contextualising God’s message for the whole world. Or perhaps this both-and approach to denominationalism is just my postmoderism expressing itself.

Mike Fast welcomes feedback on any of the articles he writes. Please leave your comments below.

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