Sunday, November 18, 2012

Apologetics and high school students . . . finishing the thought.

So here's some final thoughts on my previous post.  A Facebook reader responded with:

This is very interesting to read but not at all surprising given our society's path it is taking towards social relativism and universalism. Also, I think that a lot of modern churches have stressed the importance of having an experience with God and what He can give you, not about what He has already done for us (died on the cross for our sins). If all we think about is how God will provide for us on a daily basis, we miss the bigger point. Without him dying on the cross, everything else is pointless.

I also think that education is changing.  My students have never been without readily available content, ever - such is Generation iY.  The truth is that I can lecture all day long about the evidence for Christianity and they can pull up multiple websites with the same content and opposing websites with false content while sitting in class trying to listen to me.  They have more facts than they can possibly process.

I suspect they process it all through a filter of emotion and experience more now than ever.  So I am trying to teach with these thoughts in mind:

Less talking at and more talking with.
Knowing more about God replaced by knowing God more.
Authentic experiences trump excellent experiences.
Conversation more important than the conversion (more on that in a future post)
Engagement is always the focus. Always.


  1. I think part of the issue is that our society is shifting from modernity, where enlightenment ideals and absolutes reign supreme, to a post-modern time where an individual's experience stand as the trump card. What this means in terms of Christianity is that things that were important for many years, such as apologetics were rooted in this modernist ideal of what faith is and what is contained. Now, as a response to and in some case a rejection of, this absolute nature of modernity people are turning to post-modern narrative structure. Instead of defining their lives by facts and figures, people are looking at their lives as a narrative that contains their experiences and relationships. Their is a longing for authenticity within their narrative and an authenticity of their relationships. This means that an authentic relation can and does in some cases trump any fact or figure given. However, this does not mean that aplogetic as many people know becomes less valuable to Christians. On the contrary, apologetics still can serve as a great strengthing tool for Christians. However, to engage those post-moderns we must as leaders in the church embrace this narrative idea. This actually helps explain our liturgical life in the sense that we can authentically encouetr God and the Narrative of his love for us through the workings of Christ in his death and resurrection. Our liturgy can function as a divine drama with shows our larger meta-narrative as people who are sinful, who recieve forgiveness, who hear God's word in the narrative readings along with the Pastor's proclamation, culminating in a very real and authentic experience with God in the form of Christ's Body and Blood, in with and under the Bread and Wine. We then go forth as a forgiven child of God, covered in the blood of the lamb. our sinful narrative replaced with the narrative that we are God's beloved and blessed people and are sent forth to live our lives as such. That is the power we are given through the Word, through the Sacraments, and through the workings of the Holy Spirit.

  2. I see such a dangerous path ahead. The root of post-modernism is its most fatal flaw when talking about Christianity, the individual's experience (or group's for that matter). They define what is authentic and true. Therefore, there is no absolute truth.

    I have had experience with this when someone close to me couldn't allow themselves to take a stance against any other religion. They just kept saying, "but what if your wrong?" My response was, "The Bible tells me I am right." Why is it so wrong in today's society to take a stance against something?

    Given our sinful nature, Satan can use this moral and religious ambiguity to easily lead us down the wrong path without having been any the wiser because all that we need to validate it as truth is "real" experience or relationship. After all, I am sure that Eve felt like Satan had good intentions when he tempted her. She chose not to listen to the hard truth that she was not to eat of the tree.

    There is definitely have a long-winding path ahead to help bring non-believers to the faith but through the Holy Spirit, we know that God will give us the tools.

    1. // They just kept saying, "but what if your wrong?" My response was, "The Bible tells me I am right." //

      "The Bible tells me I am right" isn't enough to convince a person that the Bible is right, however.

  3. I agree. We should not abandon the fact that Jesus was very clear and was speaking absolutely when he said, I am the way, truth, and life. That is not up for compromise. But to totally disregard post-modernity is to disregard how many people are naturally thinking today. But you are correct in saying the Spirit will give us tools to encounter these ideas as they arise.