Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Timeless Aim of NonModern

There is a danger in trends and the words we use to “short-hand” thoughts. Words like Missional, Post-modern, or even less trendy words like Reformed. The problem is (both) that the words cease to be tied to the thoughts that they formed around, and a breakdown in communication evolves.

That is part of the process that originated this blog. The idea behind NonModern is that engaging the culture, any culture, with the Gospel does not mean adapting to the culture. Just because western culture was postmodern for a time, does not mean that the Gospel needed to be adjusted. The Gospel transcends culture, philosophy and fads.

What does need to be adjusted is the way that the Gospel is communicated. For instance, you could go to every corner of the earth and preach the Gospel message in King James English, but that would not communicate well to most people. Some people would argue that is the way to do the ministry of reconciliation, but they would be wrong. It is perfectly appropriate to share what Jesus has done in every local language.

By the same token, there are culturally effective ways to express the truth of the Gospel—just as there are others aspects of American culture that misrepresent what the Bible has to say. So, while the message is not changed, the way that message is shared does change… and that is alright.

However, the other extreme is also a danger to be avoided. Sometimes messengers become so enamored in the sharing of a message that they forget the message itself. People can become too Post-modern to really speak to a Post-modern person in an effective way. Or, even worse, they could so adapt themselves to the Post-modern mindset that they are passed by as the culture naturally moves beyond that mindset.

Every Philosophical movement begins in academia and moves out into the culture. Postmodernism started over 100 years ago, but just made it into the mainstream about 40 years ago. The dirty little secret that a lot of Post-modern “experts” overlook is that it also died as an academic movement a long time ago and that pop-culture is now also beginning to move beyond it.

The aim of NonModern is to be an expert in the message we share, and to remain flexible in the way that it is communicated.

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