A small art studio/gallery is directly opposite our flat. Gallery owners display a new piece of art almost every week in the window exhibit. I was intrigued recently by a particular piece.
One day, I worked up enough courage to step inside and ask the artist about it. As I stepped inside, I could tell that my presence was an unexpected interruption. She wasn’t used to having visitors inquire about her work. We chatted for a few minutes before I asked a question that I think most artists hate. “What does your work mean?”
“My work is about more than meaning,” she said, only slightly irritated. “My work is also about the way reality is and the way it could be. It’s about what reality could mean. My work doesn’t simply portray reality, it reimagines it.” For the first time, I didn’t just understand a way to look at art. I understood a way to understand the young postmodern people in which I serve as an IMB missionary.
Much of modern western missions is logic based. Many missionaries employ apologetic techniques. We anticipate and answer objections. But is this approach the most effective? Maybe in some areas of Europe. Answers, logic, rationality are all helpful, but a younger postmodern people is looking for more. They are looking for authentic and meaningful expressions of reality.
How do we do missions in a postmodern context? How do we connect the gospel to authentic and meaningful expressions of reality? These are questions I ask myself regularly.
In his book, “Evangelism in a Skeptical World,” Sam Chan suggests several ways of reaching postmodern people. First, through authenticity. Because truth is subjective in the postmodern worldview, one is free to simply ignore it. They don’t deny it, because someone believes this truth, but not everyone has to acknowledge or accept it. Authenticity, however, is important. If you are not living your truth, if what you believe is not seen in how you behave, then this inconsistent. Authenticity is virtuous, incoherence is not. If Christians are going to present a believable gospel message, we must live authentic lives. If we say we believe that God is loving, then they must see our love for one another. Our lives must match our message.
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Source: Church Leaders