Wineskins Archive

December 18, 2013

The Myth of Modernity – Part 2 (July-Aug 2010)

Filed under: — @ 2:39 pm and

by Edward Fudge
August 22, 2010

The mindset of Modernity that we talked about last week strutted onto the scene with an air of self-confidence and with a mouthful of sunny promises. Unfortunately, as we sometimes say in Texas, it was “all hat and no cattle.” Science did not take us to Utopia but to the brink of destruction. The new religion based on Reason did not usher in God’s kingdom, but recast God as an usher assigned to serve the kingdoms and agendas of man. Viewed from all angles, Modernity’s striking figure turned out to be an illusion created by smoke and mirrors. Its promises have been discredited and its boasts exposed. A new mindset now permeates our culture, a way of thinking often described as “postmodern.”

In this postmodern way of thinking, relationships are more important than facts and details. Postmodern people prefer mystery over dogmatism, they view humility more highly than they do certainty. For them, spirituality is more about the heart than the head. Each individual is important, but primarily as a player in the larger community and as a partner with all others who share and care for all creation. The prospect of bettering humankind motivates the postmodern person more than mere self-interest. Postmodern church looks less like an institution offering services to spiritual consumers, and more like a community of fellow-travellers with shared responsibilities growing out of a common mission to the larger world.

For the disciple of Jesus, this shift in the prevailing cultural attitude creates new challenges and opportunities. Disillusionment with Modernity can prepare the disillusioned person to receive illumination from the Light of the World. The new demand for humility and the rejection of its opposite trait can bring us closer to the place we belonged all the time. The new hunger for spirituality, the craving for relationship, and the openness to mystery can encourage us to share our faith with others, first treating them with respect, and, if asked, being ready to explain the reason why. This new environment invites us to re-imagine and re-experience the essence of creaturehood, the wholeness of salvation in community, and the awesome privilege of worship.

The old mindset was not all bad, and the new is not all good. Transition from old to new does not happen automatically or en masse, but gradually and one person at a time. Becoming more like Jesus is the goal, and it is also the standard and measure. As learners ourselves, we can afford to feel our way along. and to be patient with others on the same journey. We still see as if in a mirror dimly. Viewed in Christ’s light, this fact is cause for both confidence and joy. We are not in charge. We are not about our own agenda. We are not responsible for final results.

Copyright 2010 by Edward Fudge. Permission hereby given to reproduce, reprint or forward this gracEmail without change and without financial profit.

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