3. Mission and postmodernities


Rev. Dr. Andrew Kirk, formerly Senior Lecturer in Mission and World Christianity, University of Birmingham, UK
Dr. Kajsa Ahlstrand, University of Uppsala, Sweden

Aims and objectives

The study group has been taking on the issues raised by the new phenomena of postmodernity and their significance for mission. This involves an investigation of 21st century thought structures, religious beliefs and practices as well as ethical principles in our world of information technology.

It also requires consideration of the influence of post-colonialism, economic structures, internationalism and engagement (or disengagement) with institutions and particularly with institutional religion. The study group has been discerning commonalities and particularities in postmodern developments in different regions of the world.

Key issues and questions

1.  What do we mean by postmodernity/ies, and in what contexts do we see its/their influence?
2.  What is the relationship between postmodernity, globalisation, and neo-colonialism?
3.  How does postmodernity affect understanding of the basis of Christian faith, and hence of Christian mission; particularly in and from Europe?
4.  What are the promises and potentials of postmodernity/ies for new understandings of mission?
5.  What is the relationship between believing and belonging, both with regard to Christian discipleship and to the agencies of mission?
6.  How do we understand and engage with postmodern patterns of community, including virtual communities on the Internet?
7.  What have been the effects of postmodernity on Christian mission in Europe and in other regions? What is similar from region to region? How is postmodernity perceived by churches in the South? How will present and foreseeable developments affect churches and their mission in all regions? What response needs to be made?
8.  How do we tell the biblical story to those who embrace postmodern relativism and are suspicious of all metanarratives?

Study group reports and publications

Study group 3 are publishing a volume on 'Mission and postmodernities' for the Regnum Edinburgh 2010 Series, edited by J. Andrew Kirk, Kajsa Ahlstrand, Tania Petrova, Teresa Francesca Rossi, Jayakiran Sebastian, Rolv Olsen.

Group activities and related studies

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