Post-Christian?! Yes–and it’s about time we accept it so that we don’t [continue to] get sucked into it. The Church has spent a lot of time and energy trying to impose its faith and values on the surrounding culture, sometimes for good, sometimes for ill. In the early days in our country, culture and Church bore some resemblance, walking hand-in-hand into the bonding kiln of history. So when our culture began to pull away, there was resistance, but never has there been severance. Now, the Church is being drug to the other side of the road by its highway companion into the oncoming traffic of images and symbols and values and norms and beliefs based on a worldview that was born out of the unholy matrimony of Hollywood and Washington D.C.
There may very well be a fight to be fought there, but that is not our main fight. We need not spend time trying to get our faith into the world until we do the essential work of getting the world out of our faith. It is not time for war as much as it is time for surgery; for the Church to begin to seriously ask itself, “What is the Church?” as well as “What is the Church not?” and in so doing learn how to effectively communicate the message of the Church—hope in Christ alone—to a culture built on the sinking sand of a human-centered hope.
The best way to do this from the pulpit and on the streets will begin with an understanding of narrative: the narrative revealed in Scripture which exposes the narratives of our world for what they are in the light of truth. No longer will our bullet-point, twitter-sized faith convictions hold any weight to a suspicious world entangled in the confusion of pluralism. We need to know our story, from Genesis to Revelation, and since history hasn’t reached that Revelation, we need to know how it is that we fit into it.
Therefore, next semester I will be offering training twice a month from 12:30-2:00 after church (room TBD) for students who want to learn how to effectively tell the story—the story of God and the story of us–in a post-Christian culture. We will learn about the biblical narrative, our culture’s narratives, and the craft of communicating through story as a way of exposing the lies of our culture in the light of truth. Toward the end of the semester each student will give a testimony or homily (short sermon) based on what they have learned. So far there are eight participants(!), but it is open to all (cut off is Jan. 5, our second meeting). This first meeting will be an orientation so that students can get a better idea whether they want to participate. Bring $3 for lunch.
FIRST MEETING: Sunday, Dec. 15, 12:30-2:00 after Church in the Founder’s Dining Room.