How to Talk “Absolutes” in a Post-Modern World

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When I first met my west coast husband I thought for sure he was one of those post-modern, non-absolutes, liberal-minded, hippy Christians that needed some serious conservative savin!’ Who better to do it than a girl who grew up on the right side of things (no pun intended)?

When Luke and I first started dating he would take me to the art museum. We would sip on wine, pretend we were mature, and try to impress one another with our ability to maintain class and sophistication (which I now find hilarious).

We gazed at the masterpieces before us and sought to interpret their meaning. Of course our interpretations were polar opposites and I tried to explain to him that his perspective was off. Luke, with his laid-back demeanor, kindly explained to me that there are many ways of looking at the same thing.

What kind of post-modern gibberish was this man putting in my head? I seriously pondered if we had a future together. He may be too gray for my black and white.

I kindly asked him (with a bit of a hick accent from growing up in Western PA and attending college in Dallas, TX); “You aren’t one of this post-modern Christians are you?”

He smiled as if to say, “I have no idea what you ware talking about, but it sure sounds cute.” I was taken back by his “chill.” I wondered where he got all that “chill” and was genuinely concerned for his salvation.

I thought Christians were Republicans and Clinton was the devil. I was afraid of the post-modern movement in the church because “absolutes” were becoming rarer by the minute. I was convinced that soon people would be doing whatever they wanted in the name of Christ.

Fast forward a good 7 years and people are doing whatever they want in the name of Christ, but I am no longer afraid. In fact, I don’t care. Why should I care when the Bible clearly states “Cast all your cares upon God for He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7)?”

Why should I be worried about constantly judging other people and being offended over every stupid little thing? Why are Christians always offended? Why are we so sensitive over how other people choose to live their lives? The real question is; why do we constantly operate out of FEAR when our God is bigger than every lie of the enemy?

Oh my goodness, if we say this than people will just think they can live however they want and still say they are a Christian. So what! The only people who care to listen to our “absolutes” and ridicule of the post-modern movement are other Christians who are also fearful.

Am I saying that we need to reject absolutes? Heck no! Jesus is the only way to heaven. Period! What I am saying is that we need a new approach because the old approach is simply not working.

We must leave the old evangelical language behind because whether we like it or not, we are living in a world that doesn’t believe in absolute truths and loathes judgment. There are great strengths to this way of thinking; however, and if we don’t wake up, we will miss opportunities to get our message across.

There are many cards we can play Christians, but we have to be willing to shut up for a second and listen to the heart crises of a new generation.

Firstly, no one cares what we know if they don’t know that we care. The reason people are over “absolutes” and “judgment” is not because they really don’t believe in either. It is because they are searching for love and acceptance.

As the world grows darker and colder, the fatherless seek out a man who will take them under their wing without any evil intention. The motherless reach out for a woman who will officially or unofficially adopt them and the lonely at heart is in serach for a friend.

Secondly, the world is searching for authenticity. If we wrap our “absolutes” in our stories of failure and redemption, we are more likely to be heard. People are tired of being preached at. Heck, I am tired of being preached at. Tell me a real story. Relate to my life. Show me that you are not afraid to be real, dear Christian!

This makes us feel vulnerable. I get it. We are told to be shining examples, cities on a hill, and perfect demonstrations of God’s holiness. But being transparent with our struggles and weaknesses only makes God shine brighter. We are showing the world that it is not we that are holy, but He that lives in us.

Thirdly, we need to accept that everyone can think for themselves. We are individuals who have brains, hearts, and unique experiences. Every perspective is valuable even if we disagree. We need to stop using the Bible as our trump card because all it is doing is annoying people and making them hate the Bible.

Did you hear that Christians? All it is doing is annoying people and making them hate the Bible. Yes, we believe the Bible has the final say in our lives, but that does not mean everyone believes that. Of course we want people to love the Word as we do, but forcing it down their throat makes them choke and spit it out.

May we ask the Lord for humility and accept that people may disagree with us and that is OK. That is between them and God. My responsibility as a Christian is to love the mess out of people and share the Gospel in a way they can understand; it is not to tell them what politician they should vote for, how to raise their family, what movies they should see, what music they should listen to, or even how they should interpret the Bible.

I will continue to share what I personally believe to be true and acceptable in the eyes of the Lord, but I will graciously strive to wrap my “absolutes” in genuine love, authenticity, and Christ-like humility.  I will accept that we all see partially here on this earth and that my interpretation could be off centered.  I choose to lay down fear, be still, and know that He is God (not me).

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