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Thursday, June 29, 2006
Defining the Culture Shift to Postmodern
Business, education, philosophy and economics all have authored literature that acknowledges a culture shift from the past 300-400 years of modernity to a new era being termed, postmodernity. The European faith community were the first to join the discussion and now America has joined in as well. In a recent conversation with my son, we agreed that relationships now form between groups of people based smaller, selective interests/activities and these small "tribes" have their own "language." Being able to carry on cross-tribal conversations therefore becomes an important defining characteristic of the new millennial ethos. These small 'tribes' of people are extremely varied in every way except the reason for which they have unity in language and conversation. I'm more and more convinced that the Church needs to see 'conversation training' as a must for postmodern missions. We've all been lectured at for so long that I don't think many of us, ME included, know how to carry on a inclusive, non-threatening, hospitable, quality conversation that speaks with people and not at people. If the era has taken a seismic shift in defining how communities are being formed, then so must our 'discipleship' training models reflect this shift.

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posted by From the Margins at 7:23 AM ¤ Permalink ¤


  • At 6/29/2006 09:06:00 AM, Blogger lydia

    "I'm more and more convinced that the Church needs to see 'conversation training' as a must for postmodern missions"

    Who will (or should) be doing this training?

  • At 6/29/2006 09:31:00 AM, Blogger Michele L

    I do think that examples and ideas on how to approach the conversation is good. I would worry about it becoming another "debate" point. The how to's, needs to look like, etc. I think if we keep respect, love, and openness a top priority when we talk with others, we will learn to speak "with" others and not so much "at" others. I think you could remove "religion" and "faith" from this idea to start and begin with basic Psychology/relationship topics and examples. How we can be more receptive and communicate better, in general with others. Just some thoughts.

  • At 6/29/2006 01:33:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Lydia ... you've asked a VERY good question! Perhaps we could actually go 'outside the system!' I've experienced the church leadership culture as becoming increasingly paranoid about accepting help from the 'thems out there!'

    There are professionals out there that know these things and train people everyday in them. It's their gift! But, then comes the $64,000 dollar question (which is truly worth about 64 cents these days) "Are they Christian?" And if the answer isn't exactly the right kind of "YES" the church leadership community eliminates them from contributing.

    And so too often the church provides nothing or something diluted.

    Michele ... I agree about debating. Todays news culture (for one) has set up a debate atmosphere that sabbatoges genuine conversation. I appreciate that you heard my plea for conversation that was not debate but rather something that probes respectfully the thoughts, feelings, background, understandings, perceptions, etc. of others that are my neighbors.

  • At 6/29/2006 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Michele L

    Another thought...sorry I wrote my other comment in a rush! I have started reading "a Generous Orthodoxy" by Brian D. McLaren. I am barely at the chapter titled "The Seven Jesuses I Have Known". Well I have "known" a couple...but there was a couple, I really hadn't encountered. One thing that comes to mind for me, is I have had stereotypes and been a part of in-grouping and out-grouping, more than I even realized. I didn't form, or attempt to form realtionships with others sometimes due to "my stereotypes". Then the way I was raised, we talked "at" others outside of the group because of this urgency to get them saved. When I read about these "7 Jesuses" it reminded me, that many times I want to talk "at" because I don't respect where that person is, what God may be doing in there life etc. If I trust Jesus and follow his example then my 'discipleship' will look different.
    I still agree as before that the 'conversation training' is a good idea and that the 'discipleship' training models should reflect the shift from modern to postmodern thought...but again, maybe we should move away from "models" and look at the bigger picture of breaking down boundaries, forming relationships, loving, helping etc., living the way of Christ and our 'discipleship' training "model" (for lack of a better word) will shift in a better direction.

  • At 6/29/2006 06:51:00 PM, Blogger From the Margins

    Thoughtful, Michele. Thanks.

  • At 7/07/2006 04:33:00 PM, Blogger jen

    I, too, have heard that “A Generous Orthodoxy” is a good read for this topic. Another book I’ve heard is good (I have not read it, though my husband has) is “Soul Talk” by Larry Crabb. He talks about how to build intimate conversation into our communities (through small groups) in such way that our interaction with one another moves beyond surface talk and into the meaty, so we can all be drawn closer to Christ.


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