Saturday, 11 October 2008

Post Christendom marked by seven transitions

I came across these seven transitions on the Prodigal Kiwis site where Paul Fromont writes.

He used them to point to the new monasticism and also said

This is a context in which as Christians we will need to dig deep and find resources to be followers of Jesus in a culture that offers little support and plenty of disincentives.

The transitions also interested me from the perspective of ecumenism - what does post-Christendom mean for ecumenism, which has over the decades become less of a movement and more about institutions? And is "post-Christendom" even applicable to those places where the churches are experiencing enormous growth - Africa and Asia? Lots of questions, sometime I must make the time to do further reading about all of this. For now here are the seven transitions.

The emerging culture of post-Christendom is characterised by seven transitions:

From the centre to margins: in Christendom the Christian story and the churches were central, but in post-Christendom these are marginal.

From majority to minority: in Christendom Christians comprised the (often overwhelming) majority, but in post-Christendom we are a minority.

From settlers to sojourners: in Christendom Christians felt at home in a culture shaped by their story, but in post-Christendom we are aliens, exiles and pilgrims in a culture where we no longer feel at home.

From privilege to plurality: in Christendom Christians enjoyed many privileges, but in post-Christendom we are one community among many in a plural society.

From control to witness: in Christendom churches could exert control over society, but in post-Christendom we exercise influence only through witnessing to our story and its implications.

From maintenance to mission: in Christendom the emphasis was on maintaining a supposedly Christian status quo, but in post-Christendom it is on mission within a contested environment.

From institution to movement: in Christendom churches operated mainly in institutional mode, but in post-Christendom we must become again a Christian movement.