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Living Truthfully

Exploring what the shift from modern to postmodern means for people's lives and the Church. The second of two-parts by the Rev Canon Frank Martin Harron, II.

One of the responses to my first article, "What Is Truth?" (TN, Vol. 47, No. 2) was an email from a 32-year-old (Gen-X) Episcopal priest. He told me that when he thought about that question, he drew a blank. For him the more relevant question was, "How does one live truthfully?" In follow-up email conversations we reached the conclusion that for him and many of his peers, truth was less about abstract concepts, even theological ideas, than it is about relationships, conversations, authenticity, and accountability -- and the transcendent.

In part one, and continuing in this article, I am suggesting that the difference in those two questions - "What is truth?" and "How do I live truthfully?" - represents the difference between two very different worldviews, so different they really come out of two very different epochs, modern and postmodern. And therein lies the key to many of the challenges we face today: we are living through a time of overlapping epochs.

In my work, I am exploring the shift from modern to postmodern and I am testing the assumption that for many members of Gen X and Gen Y, those born before 1965, the postmodern perspective is becoming more common, even in popular culture. And I agree with those who make the observation that the Internet is accelerating and shaping this change of epochs as surely as the invention of movable type did the Renaissance and first Reformation. In addition to an extensive literature and Internet search, I am also interviewing scholars as well as articulate members of these pioneer generations around the world. I routinely share the results of my work with my colleagues at Trinity Church who have various responsibilities for Trinity's global ministry in television, video, on the Internet, in magazines, and at conferences. I also test my assumptions and findings with the church and beyond in articles, web postings and when I lead conferences.

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