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By Ron Martoia

Writer Ron Martoia is considered one of ultra-modern keenest Christian observers and thinkers. And in his most recent ebook he explains why evangelism is tougher now than ever earlier than: postmodern society has misplaced its overarching tales. buyers are upset, disenfranchised, and not more open to the most important 'story' of all: the message of God's redeeming grace.

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The modern world, devoid of God, relegated religion to a mere vapor trail where it had once been a significant shaping force on the cultural landscape. This is the essence of what is often referred to as secularism — looking at the world apart from any language or perspective of the gods. indd 31 8/13/08 2:09:53 PM 32 The Three Texts of material — matter-energy stuff and mind-spirit stuff. This is what is typically called dualism for the obvious reason that it points to two different things. Interestingly, this view is what many Christians hold, even though it isn’t the view found in Scripture.

If we can come to better understand what people are yearning for, do we have any clues that may help seeds germinate? An Axial Shift It may be helpful to review one more macro condition. indd 45 8/13/08 2:09:54 PM 46 The Three Texts Karl Jaspers titled The Origin and Goal of History in which he identified what he called “the axial age” — the era between 800 and 200 BC. Jaspers identified a number of characteristics that marked this age as unique, but one of the most important was the birth and rise of several key religious figures and movements in different parts of the world — including Socrates and Plato and other Greek rationalist philosophers such as Parmenides, Heraclitus, Homer, Thucydides, and Archimedes, who would later nourish much of the Western world and have a profound inf luence on Christianity.

That people are seeking spiritual experience is so obvious as to be ridiculous to cite. In the time of the greatest advancements on the planet, the shrinking of the world into a global community through technology and communication — during the time of the greatest aff luence ever seen (in the West, that is) — what is driving this spiritual quest? Perhaps the parenthetical phrase “in the West” may have something to do with it, as do the shifts mentioned above. For all the apparent advances, we feel empty.

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