Changing Culture Of The Church Essay

1758 words - 7 pages

We live in a society today that is vastly different to the one the previous generation grew up in; priorities have changed with people finding completely new ways to spend their time, people have an barrage of options presented to them with every decision and everyone seems to find someone else to blame for the current situation.
50 years ago this country was experiencing a cultural way of thinking known as modernity, this was described very well by Anthony Giddens here;
“Modernity is a shorthand term for modern society, or industrial civilisation, it is associated with a certain set of attitudes towards the world, the idea of the world as open to transformation, by human intervention”1

A great example of this occurred in 1969 with America putting the first astronaut on the moon, this was a time when barriers were broken down and it was shown that we really could achieve anything if we set our minds to it. Church wise this was a difficult time with religion being deemed as irrelevant, with the new found freedom of choice people didn’t see why they should tie themselves down to traditional doctrine and instead take charge of their own destiny. This was shown in the free love movement of the 60s with people spurning traditional ideas of sexuality and family life and instead choosing to live in the hear and now with what felt good at the time being the most important thing. Although not in the same time period, a great biblical example of this is shown in Genesis 11 with the story of the Tower of Babel, this shows the people of that time deciding that they dont need a God in the traditional sense and will instead build a tower to the heavens so that they may instead make a name for themselves and worship the glory of man.

As we have moved on from this we have started to question whether some of these concepts are in fact correct and are beginning to reject some of the modernist culturural ideals. The cultural shift we are currently going through is known as postmodernism and it is rather unclear where it is leading the combined with its constantly shifting, changing and evolving nature makes it very hard to define. Tomlinson however does a good job of summing it up in this quote:
“The postmodern world is a world which understands itself through biological rather than mechanistic models; a world where people see themselves as belonging to the environment rather than over it or apart from it. A world distrustful of institutions, hierarchies, centralised bureaucracies and male dominated organisations... A world hungry for spirituality yet dismissive of systemised religion. It is a world in which image and reality are so deeply intertwined that it is difficult to draw a line between the two”2

Through this change a number of obvious changes have become apparent, a major one of which is the changing shape of the family and the extinction of traditional family life with it. In a study entitled Social Structure, Murdock3 examined the...

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