Living with meaning, finding our purpose, knowing where we are heading, discovering the meaning of life or even thinking that this possible are all important parts of what it is to be human. For christians meaning making is established as we reflect on the story we find ourselves in and our perceptions and understandings of God.
In teaching culture society and mission this month I have been stuck by how the process of meaning making and identity formation has been destabilised due to the growth of post modernity and its inherent deconstuction, and relativisation of truth.
At one level this is very helpful, and something to be embraced by people of faith, but the trap post modernity then lays before us is that of hyper-criticism. Reconstruction cant begin because everything must be questioned, analysed and criticed. There is no solid ground on which to build. So where do we go in terms of missiology. How do we begin to build mission in a meaning Flesh for Frankenstein film
The startpoint (i think) is to find the common ground left between the postmodern culture and our deconstucted christian understanding. (bit like a venn diagram) BUT what is there, what if anything can still be meaningful or solid.
So far I see three meaningful intersections:
– Story: fairytale and myth still remain in the postmodern, and perhaps have more power to get through as although they criticed by the fact thay are couched in terms of being just that story and not a truth claiming perspective, they are engaged rather than over looked. Can we communiate our story as a fairytale, and allow the story to do the work.
– Glocal: The global and local nature of current culture should not be underestimated and bears many resemablences the trancendant and immenent nature of God. This contradictory view of God has much to offer, as again the truth lies in its seemingly untruthfullness.
– Loss of self builds Relationship: relativity remains as central tool in the process of deconstruction, which can only be really done from your relative position which inself opens up the possibility that there are many perspectives. So when we dialogue based on loosing ourself through the process we open the way for meaningful dialogue.
The three ways discussed have the in common the contradictions post modernity and christianity has within themselves. The irony is the only solid ground is one that formed in this way.