Wednesday, May 10, 2006


I've been doing a lot of thinking about ministry here in Hong Kong. I guess I should since that's where I believe God has led me to serve. My friend Dan and I were discussing the youth we work with at dinner last night. Being good, enculturated men, we were sitting at a TGI Fridays. Anyway, I digress.
We have separately come to the same conclusion about our youth. I must preface my next few statements with a warning. I hate labels and avoid them whenever possible. I have found myself cringing whenever I hear someone label themselves as emergent or post-modern, modern, or anything. I kinda feel like these are more patterns of thought than ways to classify identity. I love the ambiguity and mystery that comes from living life. I love the fact that we are all created wondrefully and uniquely. I love that I don't have it all figured out and I HATE labels that act as if we do.
I'll get off my soap box now and back to my point. Though I hate to do it, I feel that good scholarship and effective anthropology means identifying and yes, labeling the groups in descriptive ways. With that, Dan and I developed a label that I think fits the students we work with. This label wouldn't work for all youth ministries in Hong Kong, but the more time I spend with our students, the more I believe this is where they are. Are you ready for this amazingly profound label?
One way to classify our students and their journeys is as mid-modernists. They sure aren't modern, but they have a very linear way of thinking that's a staple of modernity. They aren't post-modern but they still love to learn experientially when given the opportunity. There is much more to it than these two blanket statements but for now, they suffice.
A mid-modern student in Hong Kong is a student living in the dichotomy of a culture that's as old as any in the world (Chinese) in a city that's one of the most modern on the planet, balancing a synthesis of cultural influences from all over with their unique ethnicity. Their education is based on a very modern system, yet they want to think outside the accepted pattern more and more. They are mid-modern.
It's a label, I know, but it helps me understand a little better how I might be able to effectively communicate love, truth, hope, and peace.
It's a start.



Post a Comment

<< Home