post-Christendom formation?

So I’m in the process of writing a short piece exploring Christian spiritual/identity formation in a post-Christendom context. I’m desperately looking for any recommended websites, readings or other resources that might help me get a better sense of the shift from Christendom to post-Christendom while also expanding my understanding of how formation might be different within those different contexts.

Within the Christendom context the church played the dominant role in shaping the social, political and institutional life of a people.  So much so that political structures, education, and other institutions were seen almost like partners with the church in forming a Christendom vision.   In the Western context which is increasingly post-Christendom, the church is more and more marginalized with respect to public life.  The church no longer sets the agenda for government, education or commerce.  So I find myself wonder, if the church’s responsibility to form people in continuity with the narrative of the God as seen in Jesus Christ and testified to throughout scripture changes in anyway when the many of the partners that the church used to be able to rely on for forming Christian identity no longer look to the church, and in fact appear to be more and more antagonistic to the church.

What might be some of the implications for Christian formation in light of this shift?

BTW – The image of the upside down church is a 1997 sculpture by artist Dennis Oppenheim.  He titled it, “Device to Root out Evil.”  I don’t know if its still there but I first saw the piece installed at Harbour Green Park in Vancouver, BC.

Peace, dwight

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook

8 comments
Leave a comment »

  1. Sounds like a worthy and needed project Dwight. He’s already on your blogroll, but Dave Fitch has written a lot on this topic. This is a topic that informs the whole of our ecclesial identity and practice. I have done some writing on this subject on my blog as well. Not sure if it’s a direct correlation, but a 9-post series entitled, “Toward a Missional Vision of Theological Education,” was probably my most sustained thought on how we need to rethink forming Christian leaders in a Post-Christendom context.

    Robert Banks has been a helpful author for me on this subject.

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Emergent Village and Everyday Liturgy, JR Rozko. JR Rozko said: shared this: post-Christendom formation?: So I’m in the process of writing a short piece exploring Christian spiri… http://bit.ly/9b4q0j […]

  3. Dwight, maybe relying on the State and other organisations to support the church was not only a mistake but was also a sin. It’s almost like we are returning to the pre-Constantine era. Frankly I’m encouraged by this. If you were a believer in those times, you didn’t go to church as a hobby. It had to mean something to you or else you wouldn’t put your life on the line. We can even look at how the Body of Christ thrived behing the Iron Curtain. Am I saying that current Western civilization is going to start killing believers? No. What I am saying is that Christian self identity and Christian formation has always been the sole property of Christ. We’ve let culture effect us instead of us effecting culture. We aren’t the big kid on the block anymore. Too much energy is spent on trying to maintain that illusion. (Brother I’m still in Doha, Qatar. I’ll try emailing soon. )

  4. Great subject, it seems that ever since 9/11 Christendom has hit a wall. The media bombardment of those images have raised many questions in the minds of those who think that God is going to destroy all but a select few. I look forward to your results, and there may be some information on my site that will help.

  5. Check on Lifelong Faith Associate’s – there is a journal as well as a project entitled “Faith Formation 2020”.

    http://www.lifelongfaith.com

  6. […] post-Christendom formation? […]

  7. […] in Mid-sized Communities, Part 1 (Ben Sternke)Gad Zucks! Why I'm Leaving Facebook (kinnon.tv)post-Christendom formation? (dwight j. friesen)My Take on Andy Rowell's Article in CT About Those Leaving the Pastorate to […]

  8. Great subject, it seems that ever since 9/11 Christendom has hit a wall. The media bombardment of those images have raised many questions in the minds of those who think that God is going to destroy all but a select few. I look forward to your results, and there may be some information on my site that will help.