Will the church respond?

I’m doing a research paper on the effects of postmodernism on Christianity, worship, and/or evangelism.

Most of us are down with the terminology, probably throwing a “postmodern” or “emerging” into a conversation at the frequency that we hang out at Starbucks. Most of our information, however, comes from the McLarens, Allens, and Sweets of the world, however — the Christians.

Here are a few excerpts from a secular author that struck me in my research. The book is called Postmodernism: A Very Short Introduction, by Christopher Butler. The parts I’ve read have been fascinating, and the book’s just over 100 pages and incredibly incisive.

Postmodernism: “skepticism about the claims of any kind of overall, totalizing explanation.” (p.15)…”even the arguments of scientists and historians are to be seen as no more than quasi narratives which compete with all the others for acceptance” (15)…Relativism: “the view that truth is always relative to the differing standpoints and predisposing intellectual frameworks of the judging subject” (16)…”All words must be explained only in terms of their relationships to the various systems in which they take part” (19)…”sees all conceptual systems as prone to falsifying, distorting, hierarchization” (19-20)…”We live, not inside reality, but inside our representations of it” (21)…”… is an attack on authority and reliability &emdash; in philosophy, narrative, and the relationship of the arts to truth” (110)….”For many postmodernists, we live in a society of the image, primarily concerned with the production and consumption of mere ‘simulacra.’ Information, by now, is just something that we buy. (And perhaps the main thing that we buy, in a knowledge-dominated technologically driven society.)”

As author Mark Thames writes in his upcoming book Entering Darkest America: Gathering Spiritual Community in a Post-Christian Culture,

“postmodern people desire
realness, not excellence
authenticity, not authority
wisdom, not expertise
trust, not accomplishment”

How will the Church respond to the world’s harsh criticism of many of its main habits (flashy worship, information-giving, hierarchical systems, absolute statements, nebulous terminology)?

It must.


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