UPDATE: See a response to this Weblog item from Biola professor Richard Flory here.
How can the church reach post-Boomers? Not by emphasizing biblical truth, says Biola exhibit
Fifty years ago, Richard Niebuhr famously identified five different beliefs Christians hold about engaging culture. Now, it seems, two Southern California professors are creating a new Christ and Culture for the postmodern age. And a lot of Christians aren't going to like it.
Biola University sociologist Richard Flory and University of Southern California religion professor Don Miller are the creators of "Recovery of Ritual," a new exhibit at Biola that, according to the Los Angeles Times, "explores challenges that churches face in attracting younger worshipers."
Four categories are depicted: Reactors, which use "nostalgic efforts that focus on the recovery of reason, seeking to roll back the clock on our postmodern culture;" Imitators, who "hijack portions of popular culture and inject a Christian message;" Reappropriators, who thirst for orthodoxy and are transfixed by the smells and bells of liturgical churches; and Innovators, who want to reinvent the church and focus on "intimate community."
Of these, the Times reports, only the Reactors are treated with derision. "The centerpiece of this section is a small television that shows talking-head shots of academics and pastors defending Christianity through the use of Scripture," reports William Lobdell. "On the wall are political cartoons from the 1920s, magazines from the 1950s and current books, all giving the same message: The only hope for Christianity against modern culture is hammering away at biblical truths."
And around the TV in an endless loop, Lobdell notes, "is a small electric train with ...1