DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Testing the Appropriation of Postmodern Epistemological Developments

Testing the Appropriation of Postmodern Epistemological Developments

Andrew publishes an awesome post/word regarding the emergent engagement of postmodernity (read it!):

I believe that Christians need to concentrate on being Christian and that far too often the emergent conversation works so hard to make “postmodern-conversant” people that it forgets that the goal of the church is to make Christian people who follow God’s spirit through the whims and follies of every changing scene, whether it be modernity, postmodernity, or whatever else comes our way. May the church today - in all its forms - have the faith to live through this blip on the cultural radar. May we simply do what the church has always been called to do - worship God, make disciples, care for the oppressed, and move beyond selfishness toward unity with God.

4 Comments

  1. Posted April 23, 2008 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    I must say I just don’t see the over-emphasis on making “postmodern-conversant” people. Sure, there’s some of this. But is it really taking over the other more important things he mentions? Maybe I’m just missing it.

  2. Posted April 24, 2008 at 12:10 am | Permalink

    Hey, Adam. Thanks for dropping by.

    I would simply ask this: You say that “there is some of this,” as if there were something more identifiable and larger characterizing the conversation emergent is trying to facilitate. May I simply ask what this larger characterizing feature is, and how does it de-emphasize what Andrew is citing? If you can’t answer me that, then I’m not sure you are really saying or expressing anything save the very thing Andrew is point towards: an ambiguity that is rooted in a cultural phenomenon that is transient - at best - by and according to it’s own inherent philosophy. Christianity, as a universal expression of God and faith, must go beyond this sort of thing, right? If so, then why invest so, so much time and energy into the ambiguity and cultural transience? Emergent does just that, for the most part. A few good questions may result from what it facilitates, but beyond that … what are you talking about, really?

    Thanks, bro.

  3. Posted April 24, 2008 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    I really am glad that there are people out there who can say what I mean to say without sounding offensive or just a little nuts.

    I really am not hostile toward emergent (heck, I was an emergent cohort leader before I moved to Durham), I just like to ask questions and I’m glad to see the conversation continuing.

    peace, A.T.

  4. Posted April 24, 2008 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    @Andrew: I’m with you, bro. I’m not hostile to it either; I’m just asking questions. I think it’s healthy to question it. They question everything, right? So, I’m sure they would extend to me the same privilege.

    I’m just a bit weary of all the deconstruction and postmodernism chatter because ultimately it seems like it’s going nowhere. It sells plenty of books, which is fast becoming a feature of the conversation that is becoming more and more like a sad parody of it’s own internal contradictions. Incidentally, I can’t help but ask: In an age wherein mass information can be shared via the Internet and P2P networks, why aren’t the big emergent leaders passing out their books for free? Isn’t that more akin to the spirit that birthed the conversation? Think of the energy and resources that could/would be spared! I digress …

    The emergent conversation is going to get even more tired in a few years as the core constituency moves on in life and is introduced to all of those changes life brings. I think that is a testimony in and of itself about faith, culture, change, and the big, important things. Faith is less about the transient aspects of culture and more about the big life changes we all go through. Emergent is focused almost entirely on the transient aspects of culture and is almost totally ignoring the big changes of life. It put all of its proverbial eggs in the wrong basket. Culture changes and does not cease to change. It has always been so. What makes us think it suddenly is going to cease to be so? If emergent hangs onto its “postmodern” idea of culture it too will fade away and will become less than a whisper in history. Christianity isn’t so much about culture as it is about the life and life changes that occur within any given culture. Culture is transient; the Gospel is permanent.

    So, yeah, I’m not trying to be hostile to emergent. I just donated $50 to them in January. I just don’t agree with their extreme focus upon the most transient aspects of culture, deconstruction theory, and postmodernism. If Christianity is about the life lived and changed within any given culture (history seems to say so) then what is emergent about, at all?

    I think these questions should be asked. I think they should be asked in the right spirit, too. I’m not a member of the Reformed Mafia. Smile! That was meant to be funny!

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