Pomo Part 2

Back in September of ’05 I posted some of my general feelings about postmodernism. I would like for you to read it and then read this post. There are a couple of reasons. First of all, you’ll understand what I’m talking about when I make a reference to it. Secondly, and probably most important, you’ll realize one of the purposes of this blog. One pf the purposes is for me to see how I have grown and changed over time. I think this will be evident by comparing the two posts. I could simply delete the old post and post my current thoughts alone, but I don’t want to ignore or deny who I am or who I’ve been.

If you read that earlier post you’ll realize one thing first and foremost. I was not to fond of this thing called postmodernism. There are many in the church today who currently hold this view and I can completely relate because of how I felt at one point in time.

Today I like postmodernism. I am not claiming to be a “true postmodern” or anything like that. I don’t think that it’s something that you can exactly agree with or disagree with. It’s simply a philosophical and cultural shift that must be acknowledged. The reason I say that I like it is because it has cause American Protestant Christians to evaluate this thing they call Christianity and it has caused them to be more serious about their faith and more honest about it as well.

I don’t think one can help being a postmodern anymore than they can help being Western. It’s just a fact and it must be accepted and understood.

As I mentioned, there are two main influences of postmoderism today. The first is philosophical. This is where I began to start acting like a little kid, because the philosophers labeled as postmodern fascinate me. They challenge so much of what we think and how we think and I love being challenged. Unfortunately the church has not offered much in this area. Theology (done in philosophical ways) still operated heavily in a modern context and has for the most part ignored postmodernism. This is sad because I believe that the church can offer a lot in this area just as it was able to offer a lot in the beginning of modernism. Stanley Grenz was begining to offer up some material in this area before his death and I’m hoping that there will be many to pick up his torch.

The other area is cultural. This is where things have become very controversial. The fact is that the “secular” part of society has taken culture postmodernism and embraced it. I believe that this is where our fundamental problem is. The church began to equate postmodernism with what they saw as “secular.” If postmodernism is purely a secular movement and away from the church then it makes sense that the church challenge it. Another problem is that postmodernism challenges everything modern and today’s protestant church’s are deeply rooted in modernism. This makes it appear as though postmodernism challenges the church, which is not exactly the case.

I believe, along with many others, that we as the church need to begin to see the church in a different light. We need to understand that the church, Scripture, theology and even God existed before modernism and they will continue to exist after modernism is dead. If we can understand this one truth then we can begin understanding the role of the church in this cultural shift.

Unfortunately we are already seeing church who can’t make this shift close their doors or die out. We must embrace this thing called postmodernism. It is not evil it is simply a change in history. There have been changes like this before and there will be changes like his after and God will still be God and He will still call us to follow and worship Him.

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2 thoughts on “Pomo Part 2

  1. 1. Calling a belief “true postmodern” is so modernist.2. Pragmatism beats the heck out of postmodernism for describing human behavior. Either way, its at least acknowledging the fact that people don’t think all that much about what they believe and what are the motivating factors behind their doing it. Most people just do stuff and will find a reason only if they are challenged to it.3. I heard some guy on the Bott radio network talking about the dangers of the “relativistic” philosophies by describing the lack of over-arching themes in all aspects of life. That seems to be the risk of embracing this thinking; Focusing on the trees and not quite the forest. Not that churches haven’t already done that with modern thinking.

  2. I agree that this is a very modern approach. I do not claim to be a postmodern (or really modern for that matter)As far as relavitic thinking is concerned. I’m not sure that relativistic thinking is completely bad. I think where it starts to get dangerous is when it turns into pluralism or universalism. This is where a lot of “postmoderns” get into trouble theologically. Another part of the problem is that I don’t believe we really know what postmodernism is going to turn into. At this time it’s really in a process. This process is challenging everything that is modern, not to completely get rid of it, but to see if it’s essential. Postmodernism is still very much in a deconstruction phase. We have to be careful to not let that be part of our definition of what it is. Lyotard would be fuming just to hear this conversation. I don’t think we can really define postmodernism to well at this point because it’s just in it’s beginning phases still. I am beginning to see some cultural emergence from this deconstruction and I believe within the next decade we will see some very significant shifts.

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