The following are some contrasts between modernity and postmodernity

Modern – intellect, teaching, know
PoMo- spirit, experience, sense

Modern – linear thinking and processes
PoMo – overlapping, juxtaposition without contradiction

Modern – either/or
PoMo – both/and/also

Modern – prove it to me
PoMo – show me

Modern – institutional
PoMo – organic

Modern – utopic vision for future society
PoMo – change or be changed – the world can blow itself up at any time

modern – build churches
PoMo – build the kingdom

Modern – focus on size
PoMo – focus on multiplication

Anyone can say they are post modern but it really doesn’t matter if the church does that or not. A post modern knows a post modern church when they see it. If you are a boomer church faking it as post modern, they will tell you. So I wouldn’t put much stock in anyone or church saying they are post modern. It’s just not something you say it is something you are. Check to see if postmoderns connect with the church, that will tell you if it is post modern or not.

The Acts 2 church has something to say in this discussion: “They followed a daily discipline of worship in the Temple followed by meals at home, every meal a celebration, exuberant and joyful, as they praised God.” (The Message) or “Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people.” Acts 2:46-47 NRSV

So, here’s what I’ve been thinking and talking about with our leadership lately:

-they worshiped daily
-they gathered for corporate worship in the Temple daily
-they continued this worship by sharing food in each other’s homes…house churches
-if you read the next verse, it says that every day, the Lord added to their number.

So, how does this apply to this discussion: we still build places where we can gather the house churches together for a larger corporate worship. We make worship a much higher priority. We begin to live a life of worship…worshiping God in all we say and do. We get together with the people in our church and “break bread” every day…or almost anyway. Imagine this kind of community. They became family for each other. They truly were brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ. And DAILY the Lord added to their number! How many of us can say this about the churches we serve?

From Bill Easum

The problem here may be what we mean by postmodern. It is such a hard term to pin down. Its meaning goes far beyond the music style. It goes to attitude. It has a lot to do with how one is reared. it has less to do with the age of the person and more with the attitude. Ask your flock how much experience they have had with Christianity. My guess is that as a child they had some experience. Most postmoderns had some of the following experiences as a child

1. grew up in a non Christian home
2. grew up in a divorced home
3. grew up with only one parent
4. grew up without either parent
5. grew up in a day care
6. reared more by their street peers than their parents
7. Never been inside of a church before

This list could go on and on

The other issue is that for the next 25 years or so, modernity and postmodernity will live side by side with less and less influence from modernity. Like an aging corpse, however, the longer Modernity hangs around the more it will smell – the more putrified it will become- the more odious it will be to people of postmodernity. As postmodernity does it thing in the heart and mind of people, many of these issues will become clear. Until then, we all have to guess. But I can tell you this, I am seeing less and less pure praise in the newer, storefront churches. You will remember that this thread began by me saying, “If all they do is praise, it cant be postmodern.” I still think that will prove true over the years. Of course, last week I was at Church of The Resurrection in Kansas City. Ten years old and 52 hundred people in attendance, 85% in ministry and it is very traditional musically. But, it does do major multimedia. Bill

Bill, don’t you think modern-postmodern is sort of a continuum? A church like Ginghamsburg is definitely moving toward a postmodern approach. They certainly aren’t 80’s evangelical anymore. Or in my church’s context, one of our four worship services, is definitely taking on a post modern flavor, but reaching all ages, granted they are largely unchurched. Steve Fridsma gave a pretty good definition of post modern vs modern, and I see post modern tendencies and approaches popping up here and there. Gen X leadership helps.

Response from Bill Easum Sure, this is what makes it so complicated. We have two worlds existing simultaneously. This only happens during times of great epoch change. In 50 years all of the remnants of modernity will probably be gone. Just like all of the rules of the game are now gone and nothing has been established widely enough to have any consistency or redundancy. That will all begin to change over the next 20 years. Many of these questions will be settled by then. Those left standing will be able to write the book. bill

People are always asking how to bridge the gap between modern and postmodern people. Perhaps that is not worth worrying about. Here is a post that is very interesting from Australia

“Bridge building is modernist. Networking is post-modern. Jim is on the right track but could be more focused. The earlier thread on focus groups is also OK but needs to be more open. There is a network of people outside the church who network to search in response to specific needs – say family life. Included in that search nowadays is a vague question about spirituality. The church ought to have something to say about spirituality and (family in this case) and so an invitational dialogue begins. The invitation is to more focused discussion (like a parenting support group) and further to post-modern worship (focused on young families). “Church” comes in, firstly as a venue for a group, then as a worship/spirituality center then, as part of team member/leadership development, as religious institution. Formal membership/commitment to Jesus is hard to pinpoint on this continuum = probably somewhere in the worship to team dialogue.”

A modernist response:

I had to read your post a couple times to figure out what you’re talking about. I’m not sure of the connection — to which post are you responding? The ideas are interesting though, and I see the networks you’re talking about in them.

One thought occurs to me — you say bridge building is modernist and networking post modern. Okay, I can think about that and change my language.

But the problem with thinking only in terms of networks is that they sound impersonal and superficial to me. Maybe they’re not, maybe my interpretation is simply based on lack of experience.

When I think of networks, I think of Internet and web and business. In business, networking has meant using relationships to try to get ahead. I don’t know if that’s modern or post modern view — but I know it to be true from my many business friends and my husband. On the web, networking seems to mean a certain type of relationship — like these listservs. I’ve gotten to know folks and have grown and developed a lot. But it isn’t personal. My web site is connected to several websites that are connected to other websites. INFORMATION and relationship.

Now maybe in this new world in which everything is built for speed, and in which you don’t get to see faces or hear voices, it’s important to use the terminology that implies those types of connections. And maybe networking has an opportunity to mean something new to me, or something deeper.

But the point is, for me, I think that people are looking for depth — even today, even in the post modern world. Is there a word to use that implies depth of relationship, when trying to make connections between the old and the new, especially with regard to the church and Jesus?

I hear the word “mentoring” used. That is different from networking. Or midwifery. It seems to me that iffy are going to bring people into relationship with Jesus, there has to be something in addition to the loose and fast connections that networks seem to bring. And I’d expect that midwives and mentors operate in the midst of networks. So maybe we’re talking about the two being intertwined — both together.

Whatever that music needs to be for you, then that’s cutting edge.  Being the latest C-tian folk/rock hit doesn’t matter.  Being the greatest single by George Beverly Shea doesn’t matter.  Bach still brings unsaved folk to Jesus, if that’s the music they need to hear his message in.  Praise God! Every church that is learning how to reach out to the unsaved around them in the music they will hear, however old or new that music is, IS CUTTING EDGE. >>

This is as close to postmodern as any post made so far. Whatever it takes is a postmodern mantra.