nomo pomo

February 4, 2003

From Urban Onramps:

Leadership Journal’s Kevin Miller delivers “a postmodern rant,” asking to talk about something else. Something’s missing from his formulation. I’m trying to name it.

What I think is missing is the whole point of contextualizing the gospel into a postmodern setting: to bring the saving power of Jesus to a people who speak a different language, who think in a different worldview. Like Paul said (sort of),

To the moderns I became like a modern, to win the moderns. To the postmoderns I became like a postmodern, to win the postmoderns. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. 1 Cor 9:20-22

This is just good missiology, folks. What is exciting for postmoderns is the discovery that there are things about our language and worldview that fit well with following Jesus—it’s the joy of saying, “I can worship God in my heart language.”

The trap we fall into in the midst of this discovery is to put down the modernist expressions of Christianity, as if the postmodernist ones were somehow “correct.” Isn’t it ironic that we are so quick to apply modernist criteria like correctness? We need to learn from our own philosophers and speak not of “what’s right,” but of “what fits.” And we love to point out how modernist Christianity “loses something in the translation,” but forget the lesson: That the God who loves to express himself through human cultures also transcends them all.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.