Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ethics of Postmodernist

Everything has an opposite. Winner - Loser. Pass - Fail. Cadillac - Yugo. Good - Bad. God - No God. Heaven - Hell. Truth - No truth.
Within our generation we are seeing the opposites battle for truth. As a Christian worldview holds onto truth in the realm of Creation, one may assume that an all powerful God created all that we know. It is through Him that all matter, space and time can be contributed. When a worldview holds onto the reality of God creating mankind, we have a duty to our fellow man. Even though we may posses a sinful nature, we are created in the image of God. He did not speak man into existence, He breathed life into him. Since man is a part of God's creation, He calls us to reach out to others. To feed and clothe the poor is not a duty of the Christian community, but a call from our heavenly Father. The opposite comes from Richard Rorty, postmodernist thinker, states that all dignity of man comes from the tradition that is bestowed upon man. He writes, "it is part of the tradition of our community that the human stranger from whom all dignity has been stripped is to be taken in, to be re clothed with dignity." (Truth Decay, pg. 188) The question that arises concerning Richard Rorty's idea of tradition, is what "tradition" of truth can bring dignity back to one's down trodden life. What if the "tradition" brings a person in, gives them back their dignity and then sends them off. Is that person well off from the time he/she was brought in? Let's say that "tradition" gave back dignity in the means of a monthly food stamp. Are the problems that brought the person to this state erased? The "tradition" of the Christian community is not to only help to bring back the dignity of one's being, but to give a foundation to life that can be found through Christ. Dignity may be brought back by a handout, but dignity that is founded in Christ restores one to greatness. Once again the opposites are at battle.
On postmodern ethics Kenneth Gergen states, "For the postmodern there is no transcendent reality, rationality, or value system with which to rule between competitors." (Truth Decay, pg 188) If the "tradition" of the community is to meet the need of man, then the idea of right and wrong must be stated. When right and wrong is loosely based on man's interpretation then one can determine for themselves how one may meet the need of an individual. Man may be given back their dignity, but now it is through their own doing that one may restore their self worth. Once again man becomes the determined factor, and may return to the place where he/she started. When truth is given a foundation, which is taken to be fundamentally true by the "Law Giver", one holds onto the responsibility given to us by God to meet the needs of mankind. Right and wrong, that is based upon the “Law” given to us by God, gives us the foundation to stand and impact our culture, who desires their dignity, and the answers to their problems. Douglas Groothuis, author of Truth Decay writes, “Only the God of the Scripture provides a source of moral authority and obligation, standards for ethical endeavor, the incentive and power for character, and a moral community of truth, which respects transcendent realities.”(Truth Decay, pg 207) Truth that is built on the ideas of Scripture will change lives and equip the masses with the confidence in knowing that a true living God cares for their very needs and is control of their future. More than likely man will not return to the point from which they started, but will move forward with hope and a purpose for living! No need for government hand outs, just good old hard sweat, compassion and the dignity to accomplish that which is before us.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Conversation and Cuisine

Check out this website! Xenos.org. Xenos has an outreach called Conversation Cuisine. To find out more about it, go to their web site and click "Ministries". Then click "Evangelism". You will find Conversation Cuisine to the right. To understand Conversation Cuisine we need to look back into history when Ahtens and the Greek world ruled the minds of it's culture. Whether it was a lecture hall or the porticoes of the region, Paul took the Gospel where the intellectual mind was praised and challenged. In Thessalonica and other cities he would speak to the Jews in the center of their culture and local government, the synagogue. In Athens he spoke in the Areopagus concerning the idol erected "TO AN UNKNOWN GOD". For two years he spoke in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. In the majority of Paul's writing's we see him share his faith through his worldview. To the Colossians he writes, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and decptive philosophy which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world, rather than on Christ." (Col. 2:8) For the Corinthians he challenges them by writing, "Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has God not made foolish the wisdom of the world?" (1 Cor. 1:20) To the province of Galatia, "I am confident in the Lord that you will not take any other view" (Gal. 5:10) In his first letter to Timothy, "Watch your life and doctrine closley. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers." (1 Tim.4:16) In Paul's charge to Timothy he writes, "Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct rebuke and encourage with great patience and careful instruction." (2 Tim. 1:2) Paul's ethical teachings revolved around his worldview. His worldview became the foundation and platform from which he threw himself into the ideas of his time. He took the Gospel from his heart and brought to the minds of the people. Through his worldview he was able to enter the arena of philosophy and discuss with the minds of his time, this "new" found faith in Christ.
Even though the idea of discussing philosophy has not changed, the porticoes have. We may call it Starbuck's. Barnes and Noble. Boarders. University cafe's. Conversation and Cuisine. The founders of C&C have caught the vision of Paul by bringing together the minds of this culture and presenting their worldview to the masses. What a great idea! In answering the question "Why a dinner-discusion party?" C&C provide the following answer, "...a perfect opportunity for them to experince what is like to be around people committed to God's love and hopefully develope a more trusting friendship with the home group member who invited them. This trust provides a context in which future discussions about spiritual matters take place;..." (xenos.org; 2003) The Christian members of C&C are meeting a need that the church sometimes lacks, and that is the area of ministering to the masses who would never step into a church setting. When exposing Christianity to postmodern society we need to be creative in the areas of evangelism. We need to have the confedience to enter their world and meet them at the crossroads of life. It seems that C&C does just that. It is providing a place for Christians, to strengthen their faith and to challenge the mindset of those who see themselves as king of their subjective world. Great job Xenos!