Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Engaging Postmodernism, Not Running From It Or Decrying It

Andrew Jones has written a response to the first two chapters of Carl Raschke's latest book, GloboChrist: The Great Commission Takes a Postmodern Turn. Here is a snippet of Jone's response:

"Carl’s contribution here is to equate being postmodern with being
global. Whatever postmodernism was, or however it has been received,
over the last few decades, it is about “globalization” in this 21st
century in which we live and more and have our being and, unlike a mere
philosophical theory, we cannot avoid it. This fact brings
postmodernism back into play for those of us that thought we could move

I am often frustrated by the very superficial, naive view of postmodernism that pervades the Evangelical church. It is too often viewed as a campaign initiated by a few bumptious, atheistic, curmudgeon-ish, university professors that are out to hate on truth. I don't deny that there are these types, but that is not what postmodernism is about. More rightly understood it is a sweeping global phenomenon where worldviews are undergoing a paradigm shift. It is less due to some person's influence than due to the changing realities of the world and our reactions to it. Globalization, urbanization, and technology proliferation have changed the globe and cultures are changing as a result. In the west we are NOT transitioning from a Christian worldview to an anti-Christian one. We are, instead, transitioning from a modernist worldview to postmodern worldviews (the plural is intentional). Any worldview is deeply troubled by our tainted perspectives and agendas (one effect of sin). And yet the good news can be translated and embraced by those in any worldview. Of course those that really emerse themselves in the good news begin to exhibit a transformed worldview. But even then, this transformed worldview will be shaped by the background worldview.

I have posted remarks like this before and so I apologize for the repitition. It is one those issues that periodically makes me emotional. Postmodernism is here and is impacting people's worldviews. We need to spend less time attacking postmodernism and more time exhibiting and communicating the good news of Jesus in ways that people living in this emerging worldview can understand.

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