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Jason Clark

thanks for the great notes mate


Existential Punk

I disagree that postmodern is passe and that the paradigm shift has taken place. Paradigm shifts take longer than this. Look at the paradigm lives of Hans Kung's "Christianity". Granted, technology has caused things to morph exponentially, but it's not passe yet. Len Sweet says postmodernism has until about 2030. Thanks for posting these notes, Jonny!

Existential Punk

"spirituality is overstated - young people aren't into it and the church needs to get used to it and stop telling ourselves a story we want to hear (based on a piece of research coming out in may)" I definitely agree with this statement as it is my experience with m ost people i meet in my circles. Is this piece of research referred to from Barna?

Fernando Gros

thanks for the notes! as far as point a; people have been saying this for quite a few years now (myself included). we are where we are and the shift business belongs back in the 80s/90s. point b is a harsh call but also describes "some" of the people I have met and the vibes I've picked up. maybe it is an "outdated" comment? as far as C goes, I look forward to reading the research. i think spirituality was the right call in the late 90s, but I'm too far out of the loop to comment on that these days.


Helpful reflections, thanks.

I was at the event and found the opportunity to network and talk with others very stimulating. The problem for me was the main speakers - the vast majority men over 50 - who seemed to be trying to fit all of this messy, ambiguous and tentative searching for a lifegiving pattern of Christian community into some kind of modernist framework (maybe I'm just a cynical, angst ridden postmodern 20/30something). Some of the language used from the front was also a little triumphalist to my mind. Couched in more humble terms, talking about lessons learned and so on, but still implying that we are on the brink of some kind of revival.

It was Graham Crays comments regarding spirituality and the obselesence of 'post' language that intrigued me too. I await the research with interest but wonder whether those of us who feel at ease in a postmodern culture (or whatever term you want to use)are simply called to embody Christian community for this generation. This may very well be temporary and only last a decade or so but I will always be part of generation x and so am called to live out my faith within the context of this generation that lives in that place of tension and contradiction between cultures.


Again it will be interesting to see the results of teh research. Is spirituality overstated, for some yes, for other s they are desparate. Iam not sure if it is just the way that Jonny too the notes but there was the implication that if the Youth dont want it, the church will not do it.

Why does the church place such an emphasis on meeting the needs (or the perceptions of over 50's ) of the needs of the youth, to only dump them from the 20's onwards expecting them to revert to the same stuff that we always have had.

In the church just I have just left, the vicar saw each service as providing an evangelistic message for the <5% of new commers in the congregation, feeding them with spiritual milk, ignoring the fact that existing 95% were craving meat. That was the role of home groups he claimed. CRAP.

The church has to remember that people need different things at different times in the spiritial and biological lives.


I enjoyed the conference and your feedback was helpful, Jonny. Thanks too for the worship.

Re; Graham Gray and postmodernism
- I have an article somewhere from the Sunday Times mag from several years ago (!) in which Salman Rushdie profiles U2. In it he refers to a recent meeting of artists from several fields of the media at which German filmmaker Wim Wenders declared that postmodern art was over and that it was the era of simple, direct statements about the truth (I'm paraphrasing).
So maybe Graham is right?


Great post. Some worries in there for me too, which I've posted here:


Precis? I think Graham is jumping way too soon to conclude some paradigm shift has already happened. And the danger is we tag on new forms before the old ones have really died... Which will help no one, and probably make a whole new generation cynical. And given that this conference was led by the same old white men, it seems incredible anyone can suggest anything has changed.

Well done Jonny for challenging him. What did he say?


Evaluationg M21, how are the Brits doing in missions? Challenging observations and interesting comments on my weblog:


Paul Fromont

Cheers Jonny. Very interesting Point (c). I shall look forward to the research. I wonder if the we talk ourselves up more broadly about a "revival" of interest in spirituality?


thanks for the comments...

i included notes on graham as they were the most interesting bit of content (read between the lines). i really liked what he was saying overall so i don't want to leave the impression i didn't. i think his stuff on parallel presences, interculturation and all that is really good. my discussion at the end wasn't me trying to correct him just suggesting a difference of opinion about alt worship. i think it is unfairly represented by implication as people full of angst. my experience is that it is full of creative inspiring reflective people who have filled me with a lot of hope. many are into mission, passionate about christ and the church. graham wasn't being negative about alt worship per se - his point was that the future isn't that and that the church should prioritise unchurched rather than dechurched in mission. i think both are really worthwhile...

i suggested that if good missionw as going to take place among the unchurched one of the skills needed would be helping develop contextual worship. in my mind alt worship holds many of the clues and instincts about how to do that which graham wholeheartedly agreed with.

part of my furstration i think is that it was a pretty evengelical charismatic crowd by background. graham's comments may close them off from looking in the dircetion of emerging churches and alt worship which is a shame.

Dave Halls

Ref last para. Good point. Anything which justifies people staying in their comfort zone re worship needs to be challenged. I am a 50something charismatic-evangelical by background and a third generation pentecostal as well who was at Mission 21.(By the way guys, is ageism OK in your networks?) and thought that the best evidence that alt.worship wasn't a bad thing was Jonny's worship set on Friday morning which, if you'll excuse the vocabulary, was as anointed as any setting I've been in recently. It spoke to me and has continued to impact me a who lot more than 45 minutes of guitar-led singing would have done. I thought the Northumbria Community facilitated some great stuff too. But then, I'm a sucker for authenticity. Anyway--stay with it guys! I am sure that a lot of the people at Mission 21 felt like I did

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