“Which of the two did the will of the father?” Matthew 21:31

Following the dilution of absolutes, much decision-making in current culture is characterised or influenced by what people find convenient and comfortable, rather than what is…


Dear One and All

‘Postmodern’ is a term used by philosophers, artists, and writers to mean a serious and sceptical reinterpretation of culture, literature, history and architecture.  This reinterpretation is also extended to religion. The reinterpretation frequently rejects the established ways of seeing things in preference for a new way which is completely counter-cultural. It is frequently accompanied by what philosophers call “deconstruction”. Deconstruction, amongst other things, denies the possibility of a pure and absolute truth. Often a radical, sometimes even anarchist rejection of absolutes, accompanies postmodernism.

That we now live in an age where absolutes no longer exist is self-evident. The right to abort, the legalisation of gay marriages, never mind the whole raft of legislation, which protects such groups at the expense of more traditional values, is proof that things once held sacred, life in the womb, or the sanctity of marriage are now matters of choice rather than ethics. Postmodern thinking and culture of the last 200 years has assaulted the structure and belief system of what went before. So absolutes such as God, Right and Wrong, Good and Evil, Beauty and Loveliness have become relative terms, based upon how you ‘feel’ or what fits personally.

Following the dilution of absolutes, much decision-making in current culture is characterised or influenced by what people find convenient and comfortable, rather than what is right and correct. This attitude is more invasive than we imagine. People feel they have the right to do and think what they want because who is anyone to say or question the ideas of another. One of the casualties of postmodern thinking, with its absence of absolute values around truth, justice and righteousness is the shift from objective measures by which to judge actions, to a more internally driven system based on emotions, convenience or what is attractive.

Jesus in telling the parable of two sons, the first who declined to help his father but ultimately did what was asked of him, whilst the second promised to do so, but did not, probed with the question – “which of the two really did the will of the father?” Jesus moved the substance of faith and relationship from the wordy “I go Sir” to the one who even though he said I will NOT, “went and did”. Jesus was underlining the truth that commitment without works is dead, that speech without action is meaningless, that community without engagement is a corpse, that our ‘yes’ without action is a lie. The challenge for the 21st century believer is to turn from thinking life is governed by the convenient and being enticed by seducing conveniences and comforts, and instead ask, at what expense to His church and His work are my comforts and conveniences being pursued?

“For he who made himself of no reputation taking on the form of a bondservant,… and who humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even death of a cross” calls us to turn from the seductive call of the Sirens’ and be willing to deny ourselves the pleasure of doing what we want, so His work may go forward. Paradoxically, like so much in Scripture, when we die we find life, when we deny ourselves we find meaning, when we say ‘Yes’ and do, we find life in all its enriching colors and fullness.

Until next time!

Steve