He is really using this as a gateway to introduce two authors who write about the death of Christendom. Most interesting. If we Christians are going to be one part of a multiplicity of cultures and ways of life, then witnessing goes from an intellectual or persuasive exercise to one that is more experiential in nature--how is our way of living a better way of living than other ways of living? (I know--define "better"--but in a way that space and ambiguity is in our favor. God can approach people with His grace in so many different ways, addressing so many needs!)
That means that when faith hits the road, it has to hit the road in a winsome way and in a flexible way. Not a wimpy way--Jesus wasn't wimpy in His calls to follow Him--but in a way that can be used by God's Holy Spirit to lead someone towards God. Not a waffling way--people really are looking for firm ground to stand on in these days when very little looks firm at all.
This feeds into this that I found on the Kansas City Star's religion blog.
The "money quote" (to borrow a phrase!)
But the answer to relativism is not false certitude. The answer is to be comfortable with ambiguity but to be committed to some foundational standards that help guide us through that ambiguity
This is why I count my blessings regularly that God led me to the corner of Christendom called Wesleyan. Wesleyans are allowed to think. Now, that also means we've been known to fight, but I like the freedom to think out loud and work out the trickier aspects of the faith. I've addressed this before, after an Adam Hamilton sermon:
I quote Pastor Hamilton in the beginning of the post:
Deep conviction, not deep certainty.
Closer to God, more aware of short comings and faults.
The more you know about God, the more you realize you do not know.
Less certainty, deeper conviction
Not all figured out...God so much bigger...willing to listen to others.
The more you grow, more you know, more you realize that you don't know
Hold fast to convictions...deeper experience with God...recognize that you don't have all the truths.
He is reflecting on the pharisees and how they became part of the plot to kill Jesus. How, because they were so legalistic and law driven that they couldn't see the way the Kingdom of God was to be set up--the Kingdom of God's love in the heart.
Great stuff--much food for thought for Christmas!