I travel a lot. Over 25 college campuses, the past few months.
People ask me what I’m learning about students.
Student profile #1: Postmodern all the way through.
You may be surprised to know that in the so-called “postmodern” university the truly postmodern student is fairly rare. That is, the student who thinks there is no overarching truth at all, but only competing stories and “versions” of reality, is a famous but ultimately phantom figure.
Though scarce in number, postmoderns have become the target profile to whom we evangelicals have finally adjusted our ministry sites, now twenty years after their first explosive appearance.
Student profile #2: Modern all the way through.
This student never really went away, but was considered passe for a decade or more as campus and pop culture embraced personal–that is, non-institutional–spirituality.
But such ungrounded spirituality was bound to falter after a season.
Believe me when I tell you the young modernist has stormed back into prominence. Following “new” atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, he’s a hard-headed, common sense pragmatist.
And like his mentors just mentioned, he can be aggressive and derisive. Unfortunately, he seems quite able to bait Christians into following suit.
Next week I’ll cover two more student profiles, including the one I encounter most (by far).
Later, I’ll outline a strategy for reaching all four profiles.