Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Preaching in a Post-Modern World

Sometimes it's good to revisit your training. I did the following session in Coventry in 2003. I wonder how people think it has stood up.

Preaching in a Postmodern World
Modernism (14th – 19th centuries A.D.)
Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Noun 1737 ‘modern artistic or literary philosophy and practice; especially : a self-conscious break with the past and a search for new forms of expression.’
Typical features
Belief in progress
Emphasis on reason
Rejection of tradition
Faith in science
Confidence and hope
Development of liberal democracies

Merriam-Webster online dictionary. Adjective 1949 ‘of, relating to, or being any of several movements (as in art, architecture, or literature) that are reactions against the philosophy and practices of modern movements and are typically marked by revival of traditional elements and techniques.’
Typical features
Despair of meta-narratives
Respect for all traditions and opinions
What works rather than what is real
Everything is a text – FCUK preaching
Spirituality good; absolute truth bad
Changing loyalties, attitudes to possessions, relationships, aspirations, ideals, interests, attention spans, styles and reactions

What will a postmodern church culture begin to look like without correction?
Feel-good factor. No place for suffering. Pastoral care expected as a right.
Goodbye brand loyalty. Christians, already happy with a more nomadic working life, will shop around for a new church when they move, regardless of denomination.
People will be disappointed if faith doesn’t work. How being a Christian saves your marriage seems to be more important than doctrine.
Me-ism. Centralisation of individual needs.
Tradition mixing. Two parts Celtic to one part charismatic. Hold the incense.
A desire for certainty alongside a comfort with variety.
A demand for new things.
Short term programmes and courses more popular than long-term commitment.
Dualism – one rule for church and another for life.
Networks not churches.
Liquid church.

More tomorrow.


david said...

st, could you please explain what "Despair of meta-narratives" means?

Caroline Too said...

meta-narrative is a trendy way of suggesting that there is an overall story or logic to the world

a few examples of meta-narratives
evolution, progress, science will provide the answers, there's one truth out there that we can discover eventually ...

over the last few decades, fewer people have confidence in these meta-narratives... some might even despair of them (but, I confess, I haven't met such a person)

david said...

Thanks Caroline Too - must try harder to keep up with the jargon!