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Read an Excerpt from "Godspeed"
Second, from a postmodern perspective, truth claims are often interpreted as political strategies promoting self-interest. The church must be aware of this distinction, because we make (and need to make) truth claims all the time. Today people have a general suspicion of political maneuvering by those who claim to have the truth, and 75 percent of young, not-yet Christians (ages 16 to 29) see Christians as too political.
Third, postmodernism brings with it a kind of pluralism, the general acknowledgment of diversity. In a rejection of modernism, our pluralistic culture is one where the diversity of racial, religious, ethnic, and cultural groups is not only tolerated but also celebrated. Have you seen the bumper sticker that uses the religious symbols from several different world religions to write the word coexist? That's a postmodern, pluralistic perspective. Subsequently four out of five young, not-yet Christians believe Christianity teaches the same basic ideas as the other world religions.
The postmodern mind-set is less concerned with proof and more concerned with fruit; it is suspicious of truth claims as maneuvers for self-interest; it values diversity in all areas of life, including religion. It rejects exclusiveness and embraces inclusiveness. This mind-set is a rejection of absolute truth, and 76 percent of not-yet Christians in America do not believe absolute truth exists.
This is very bad news for a church that wants to do Christianity as usual. If we're going to be known just for what we are against instead of what we are for, postmodernism is a scary thing.
But I think it's good news.
I think Christ is raising up and calling us to be the church, an expression of Christianity that shines His light before people in such a way that they may see our good deeds and glorify our Father who is in heaven. Christ calls us to be a church that speaks the truth in love in order to reach people.
We need to see culture as the opportunity, not the enemy.
We fail if culture is always the enemy.
If you look at the first-century Greco-Roman world, you see it was a pluralistic culture not so different from our own. And what did Christianity do in the first-century world? It spread like wildfire! History tells us that biblical, incarnational mission does very well in a context of pluralism and opposition.
Where modernism was a rejection of God, postmodernism is open to spirituality. And that is a good thing. We live in a culture where more people talk about God and have spiritual conversations. In fact, 82 percent of Americans say they are spiritual seekers, and 52 percent say they've talked about spiritual things in the last twenty-
four hours. That's remarkable! Eight out of ten people you'll go to work with tomorrow consider themselves spiritual seekers, and more than half of them are going to have a spiritual conversation during the day.
These conversations are happening all around us.
Are we a part of them?
IMMINENT, EVIDENCED, INTIMATE
Our goal is to get the church into the community in a purposeful, incarnational, meaningful expression, rightly representing Christ through the love that we show people.
We need to go where people need love and love them. Our love shouldn't be preconditioned on whether they're ever going to come to church or hear a gospel spiel at that moment. The world has seen enough of this contrived effort and faux befriending. We need to love people authentically, with God's unconditional love. As simple as that sounds, it's really hard to do without being continually tapped
Britt Merrick is the founding pastor of Reality, a network of churches with locations in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Ventura, Stockton, Santa Barbara, and London, England. He is the author of Big God and blogs at www.brittmerrick.com. Britt lives and surfs with his wife, Kate, and their two children in Carpinteria, CA.