Back on January 10th, I wrote a small blurb about the postmodern movement's influence on the Evangelical church here in the US and how Orthodoxy has many of the answers they are looking for.
An article I linked to talked about the new slogan, E.P.I.C being used to describe the "pomo" worship paradigm-- Experiential, Participitory, Images, and Community.
My wife recently had a discussion about this EPIC phenomenon over email with a evangelical friend of hers and here is his response. At some point, I will return to what he says in his last sentence. It is an issue that is dear to my heart....More to come later....
"One of the greatest gaps in the established evangelical church is that between
head knowledge and actual experience. Younger Christians are much more demanding when it comes to 'experiencing' their relationship with the Lord. The church is very good at pumping people's head full of theology and doctrine, rules and programs, but atrocious at leading people to a place where they not only know intellectually about the spiritual world, but experience it and live in it as we were created to do. The already
vast and growing number of young students who are dabbling into occult proves that they have a hunger for spiritual authority and experience, and that since they are not finding it at church...because it is not experienced, only taught......they are looking elsewhere.
This same concept would apply to the participatory factor as well, they want to experience, they want to participate...to be involved. As our culture becomes more and more media centered, the younger generations tend to be attracted to visual, audio presentation of religious metaphor. The message needs not change, just the metaphors for allowing people to connect with the truth behind it.
You wouldn't expect to have a person who speaks another language than you to understand, or be interested in what you were saying if he could not understand you would you? It is the responsibility of the church to learn the "language" of new generations....we cannot say "they must learn our religious evangelical talk before we can communicate truth to them". Just as missionaries learn how to adjust culturally, so must the church..
The church is starved of community. "Christian community" is almost an oxymoron. We are in the most individualistic culture in the world, and that reflects in the values of our churches. Christians rated the importance of having a prestigious job and a big home as more important to happiness than did non-christians polled. Our church lives in fear of
exposing the pain and mess that everyone is really in, but never allowed to show. Divorce, depression, pornography are some of the issues that are rampant in church, but seldom addressed, and have yet to be addressed effectively en mass. The church struggles to deal with the causes for these and you rarely ever see the effects of them on Sunday morning....just smiling happy people."