TOPIC 4: LIFE-GIVING COMMUNITIES
SESSION 2 Proclaiming the Gospel of Life In This Postmodern Culture
- Choosing Life in a Postmodern Culture
- What is the postmodern culture?
- It is the way of life of today’s generation.
- It is a culture that is eclectic, fragmented, preoccupied with image (Powell)
- people “connected” to each other 24/7 but feeling deeply isolated and alone
- a culture constantly moving, flowing in every direction at once, without ever forming a coherent pattern (Nathan Mitchell)
- multiple connections and no clear-cut hierarchy
- a climate of questioning what has been previously practiced
- Key elements: information and communication technology as well as the rise of greater consumerism
- A hermeneutic suspicion, where since all interpretations are equally valid, they are then equally meaningless
- What are we up again in this “new” culture of death?
- A culture whose thinking style is not logical and systematic but eclectic and fragmented.
- A shallowness that only focuses on image
- Deep feelings of loneliness and isolation
- A mindset that doesn’t hold hierarchy with the same esteem as generations past
- Questioning, critical and even rejecting of how things have been done before
- “plugged in” to information and communication technology
- Highly influenced by consumerism (amassing wealth and goods)
- Learning from the Past
- Based on the history of CFC-FFL in its 30 years of existence, including the split/transition to CFC-FFL, there are some lessons we can learn:
- Be humble. We are humbled from thinking we have grown so fast, so wide and that we are so good. All our efforts are nothing without the power of God working through us.
- Be faithful. We have not been that faithful to God. We have sinned. We have gotten distracted. We have relied on ourselves too much and relied on God too little.
- Don’t overfocus on one area/ministry. We need to strike a balance about the need of different ministries. If we focus too much on one ministry over another, we lose sight of the holistic nature of the community that needs different ministries. (The Body has many parts!)
- Don’t compete. The temptation and even pride may lead us to compare how we are doing versus the “other side.” We may compete with CFC Global. But this is not a race about who is better. It’s a journey where we cooperate and work with other groups. It’s a time to see that what matters is doing the work of God. Let us not get distracted.
- Discern and be open to where God may now be leading us. He is calling us towards defense of life and family. We must not limit God but wait on Him for our marching orders.
- Know the enemy. We have to know what we are up against. Are we trying to see the tactics of the enemy? Today, it’s a postmodern culture.
Also, are we prepared to go into spiritual battle? Are we equipped with God’s Word, with salvation, with peace, faith, truth and righteousness? (“Put on the whole armor of God.” Eph. 6,11)
- Strategies to Bring Life to the Postmodern World
- We simply cannot do things the same way we have before. We are challenged to think of new ways, new strategies, new ways of evangelization and bringing LIFE and Christ’s light to the world.
- Logical, top-down strategies won’t work. We need to approach them with multiple connections pointing to one reality, one Truth, like different signs converging to point to the reality.
- We can bring them from shallowness to depth, but this will take time and it must be done slowly, gently and lovingly.
- Even as they “feel” connected, there is that basic and deep human longing for human interaction. We can address their virtual connectivity by providing face-to-face encounters with real people who they can see, hug, hear, etc. in REAL time.
- At the same time, we must use information technology and be where they are at in cyberspace (Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
- Don’t impose hierarchies and structures, because their minds don’t process things that way. They respond better to varied and even eclectic interconnections.
- Since they are critical of everything and how things have been done before, allow them that venue to question and be critical. If we remain constant in love and compassion, they will see our sincerity and know that we are true.
- Moral relativism makes them think that there are no real absolutes and that one interpretation of the truth is just as good as another. Jesus is just as good as any other prophet, but not more so. Therefore, there’s no ONE true way, truth and life. We can challenge them by our witness, by Christ’s life and then pray hard for them. Then allow God to move. For we can plant the seed, but only God can make it grow.
- With the obsession to amass wealth and become greedy, we can challenge this insatiable desire for the unattainable by giving them the alternative – bringing them to Jesus who gives us water that will never make us thirsty again, for He is the living Water! (Jn. 4,13-14)
Postmodernism for Beginners by Jim Powell
How different is today’s world from the one you grew up with as a kid and teen?
What new ways of evangelization do we need to adopt as a community to bring others to Christ?