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Monday, March 01, 2010

The Once and Future Brain #1

This week I want to look at some of the philosophical issues involved in preaching to the next generation.

I have been told that the age of the Enlightenment is dead. We have moved beyond the philosophy that reason will allow us to know all things to . . . something else. In Christian circles it’s being called post-modernity, but that title is already claimed by artists and philosophers. It is post- Enlightenment, post- rationalism, post- imperialism, and post- most other things as well. Really, what it boils down to is a rejection of the way things have been for about the last five centuries.

But I’ve also been told that all this post- junk is just a phase. It’s a trend that will fade away along with every other trend that has claimed to be the rebirth of the church. There is always a group that is looking for the next big thing, the next trend to follow. And that group usually can’t see beyond the scope of what they are doing right now. If church with candles is the trend, they will try to explain how church with candles is the only way to do church. Mostly they are defending a trend and will move on to the next trend before too long.

What if they’re both wrong? Or what if they’re both right? I do think that our world is shifting in some radical and fundamental ways that go beyond a mere trend. But I think that the window dressing that has been put on churches that claim to be post-modern is going to go out of style like leg-warmers and jean jackets.

There’s something big going on here, bigger than most people realize. We are in the midst of some changes that have only happened three times before in the history of the world. This change will transform not only our churches and our culture, but also our brains. There is nothing we can do to stop this change. If we ignore it, we will be left behind, but if we embrace it and anticipate it, we have the potential to translate the Good News into the language of the next generation. 

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