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.