“Post-communist or Postmodern?” That is a question that has been discussed often in several of the ministry circles I am involved in here in Prague, Czech Republic. Most of us “Western” missionaries have to wrestle with this answer (and let’s be honest the few indigenous ministries need to wrestle with this too). I’ve seen ministries that are almost completely run as if this culture is “postmodern” and then I see other ministries that ignore the discussion about postmodernity almost completely. So they operate in the extremes and not the reality. I think that is us as humans to a degree, maybe even us as Americans; we live in the black and white and we can’t see that the answer is somewhere in the gray in-between the opposite poles. Well, I hope to write more about this, but we will leave it there for today. I did want to share a quote from a fellow missionary and friend here in Prague, this is what George Swain has to say about this question:
A lot of the folks that we meet in Prague are still in prison but don’t know it. The prison that still exists in their minds due to coming out of communism. It limits the topics they feel that they can talk about and the friends that they can have. We have had students tell us, “I don’t trust anyone but my parents!!” It is invisible but very restrictive. Some folks like Vaclav Havel have totally unlimited attitudes. They accept everything but it is usually the Godless side of everything. Those people are mainly the film writers or the authors that the western world identifies as being postmodern. Then the mistake that they make is to assume that the majority of Czechs are also postmodernists like the rest of Europe. The vast majority however, are post-communist in their thinking. It’s a totally different animal. Even our students are mainly post-communist.