Who am I? How do I relate to others? And how do I know? A comparative analysis of answers to these central questions from socio-psychological theories and socio-theological reflection leads to an evaluation of intraindividual, interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup communication processes and their impact on five types of identity, the flow of communication, social fragmentation and micro-cultural development. Students design a plausible narrative that draws out implications for gospel-centered communication and intercultural mission within a specific micro-cultural group.
The rise of postmodernism in Western culture has created central questions that are at the core of much of the social fragmentation and identity politics that dominate the intellectual elite and popular culture. Missional leaders in the years ahead must be prepared to navigate elements of identity, how they shape social interaction and how they either facilitate or hinder gospel-centered communication. The course builds on socio-psychological theories, elements of postmodern thought and critical socio-theological reflection to undercover issues in five types of identity and their impact on intraindividual, interpersonal, intragroup and intergroup communication processes.
Have you ever wrestled with your own self-identity – who you are – and how you are related to others around you? This course investigates five types of identity, how we both shape and are shaped in our personal and social identities, and the influence our identities have on communication with others. The course investigates key characteristics of postmodern thought, its impact on cultural groups, communication theory, and gospel-centered witness.
Socio-theological reflection on elements of personhood center on the imago Dei (image of God) and issues of the impact of personal and social sin on dimensions of self and group identities.
Rather than taking a traditional “apologetic” view of attacking postmodern ideologies and the identity-driven micro-cultures that it creates, Missional University approaches these socio-cultural groups missiologically – first understanding culture from within their own framework and biases, then bringing a gospel-centered witness in contextualized forms that may speak within their own cultural setting.
Postmodern social identity emerges in the context of collective intragroup discussion of social mores and norms. These folkways provide sociocultural boundaries that most be understood and ultimately challenged by a biblical-based gospel-centered witness.
While some view “intercultural” as the interconnection of two ethnic or religious cultures, being interculturally-focused includes understanding postmodern collectivism as another expression of cultural groups that need to be reached with the gospel. Students will need to traverse intergroup and intragroup communication and politics in relational ways in order to sow the seed of the gospel among peoples whose understanding of Christianity diverges from an evangelical perspective of faith and culture.
Since communication flows across social networks and profoundly impacts dense networks, it is the social cohesion of groupness that provides the practical setting for missional engagement through becoming an embedded missionary within micro-cultures.
Students who immerse themselves within postmodern micro-cultures and engage the group with careful missional approaches to gospel-centered witness may experience first hand the work of the Holy Spirit in multi-individual conversions known in missiological theory as people movements.