The other week, as I had mentioned before, I got the opportunity to hear Stuart Murray Williams, author of The Naked Anabaptist: The Bare Essentials of a Radical Faith, speak at Elizabethtown College. It was enlightening, challenging, and gave me hope that Veritas is moving forward in the way that it should. Stuart shared 7 Core Convictions of the Anabaptist Network in the UK, of which I wrote about late last week. I want to take this space to share the other significant part of the seminar that Stuart gave while at Elizabethtown, that of Post-Christendom.Here is what Stuart talked about in regards to Post-Christendom; it's definition and transitions:
"Post-Christendom is the culture that emerges as the Christian faith loses coherence within a society that has been definitively shaped by the Christian story and as the institutions that have been developed to express Christian convictions decline in influence."
Post-Christendom includes the following 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.
I believe that while the US isn't on the scale of say Europe in relation to this shift to Post-Christendom (except in areas like the Northwest- Seattle, and Northeast- New England) we are definitely headed that way. And I believe we can learn alot about how to do mission, church, and worship in the midst of our Post-Christendom society by looking at the 7 Core Convictions that I shared in one of my last posts. I believe that going forward from here means for us (Veritas) that we need to, in some way, dive deeper into those 7 Core Convictions of the Anabaptist Network, and move fully live out the tradition of our forefathers and foremothers in the Anabaptist Tradition.