Tuesday, September 2, 2008

the great evangelical crack-up, part 3

i want to continue our discussion of the great evangelical crack-up by thinking through one of the comments i received about part one.

big spoon wrote:

"...our best witness is to tell our story, what Jesus and God have (has?) done for us, in a personal and meaningful way. And it matters how we live, because it brings us the most blessings and shows people that there is something different going on in our lives. I just don't think you can start at a better place than that."

i agree with this idea. the possibility of us individually telling our story is perhaps the only way for the gospel to be incarnate or embodied, or earthed in any meaningful way today in the west. however, will we? or will we just talk about it? and if we merely give lip service to the gospel, is it because we do not trust the gospel? or is it because we instinctively feel the intense pressure of hypermodernity and post-christianity?

said another way, are we afraid?

notice, i did not say ashamed. i said afraid. afraid that the gospel will only work in this place that explains the miraculous and the origins of the universe. [this actually goes with yesterday's post] this is the pressure crushing us, and it is powerful.

part of what we feel, i think, is the loss of the plausibility structure that christendom gave us. [for more on this from me go here] as i've said in a earlier post, christendom's death in the west is driving the contraction or marginalization of christianity toward reformation (or extinction?).

this, then actually fits closely with how you end your post:

big spoon wrote:

"Finally, if the era of denominational Christianity is coming to an end, that is a concept I could wrap my arms around and celebrate. If we could all drop our labels and separate traditions and simply focus on the basic truths of what it means to be a Christian, what a step in the right direction that would be."

i agree that denominational christianity has run it's course and that the institutions and structures (the institutional church) is dead. what will arise in the west to replace it remains to be seen, but, even though i'm "not a prophet or the son of a prophet," i predict that your grandchildren will grow up in church that is very, very different from yours and mine.