|We are on the heels of a new postmodern world that has been called “The Second Reformation” by some. Many churches have jumped on this bandwagon and caught the vision while others either struggle to breakthrough to this new worldview or resist it completely as a soon-to-pass fad.
What does all of this mean for today’s Christian church? What impact does postmodernism have on the way we “do church”? What is worship supposed to look like in a postmodern world? Do we really need to do anything differently or should we “build it and they will come”? This paper will attempt to shed light on these questions and will give some overview as to what is being said and done about worship in a postmodern world.
Maggi Dawn, a United Kingdom theologian and pastor, claims, “You have to change to stay the same. In short, when we use the same form and language in worship, their meaning actually changes over time and becomes irrelevant”. Dawn believes that the challenge for the Church is, “…to engage thoroughly with the ancient and reinterpret it through the culture we now live (because) relevance is a thorough understanding of our tradition and a genuine ‘placedness’ in our cultural situation.” But she cautions that this is no superficial task. “To be trendy has little or nothing to do with being relevant…To imagine that we can marry objective truth together with a cosmetic, surface understanding of our culture is a recipe for disaster. We have to inhabit our culture (that’s what being human is) to interpret the eternal truths.”
Two big questions for postmoderns are: What is truth? And how can I experience God in a communal setting? Interestingly enough, this same question of truth was raised in Jesus’ day. The story of Jesus being questioned by Pilate illustrates the mentality of postmoderns as told in John 18:37-38. “Pilate then said to him, ‘Are you a king then?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say it that I am a king. To this end I was born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.’ Pilate said to him, ‘What is truth?’” (emphasis mine).
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