Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Postmodernism and The Emergent Church, Part One - Thomas Jay Oord at The Ooze

Part One -- Things Change

The current change from modernism to postmodernism entails a radically different way of looking at life.  A whole new paradigm is emerging that beckons us to break from negative precedent.  This kind of worldview shift occurs when people question, then change their core assumptions about reality.  They have encountered data that just can't be explained by an older system of beliefs. 

Deconstructive postmodernism works to identify inherent inconsistencies in the language we use to describe reality, arguing that language can't be definitely nailed down.  Words inevitably contain meanings that authors did not intend. Propositions can't reliable deliver the truth about reality.  So-called "objective" and "universal" reason relies upon biased and ambiguous language.  Deconstructive theology steers clear of the idolatry of words and promotes the prophetic.

Narrative postmodernism finds meaning and truth in stories.  It argues that the stories we tell and the way that we tell them arise from particular points of view.  Additionally, our particular points of view are only intelligible as part of a larger story.  Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said that we speak from a context of a particular language game, which are our lens upon and filter for reality. 

Narrative postmodernism argues that meaning is found in, and arises out of, particular communities.  This is because truth is communal, not individualistic.  George Lindbeck argues that being a Christian is to become a part of particular community and the Bible offers a story that arises from a particular form of life with a unique language.  Joining a Christian community is more about joining a team than embracing a new set of ideas or beliefs.  According to radical orthodox theologians, modernity is a heretical deviation.

The full article is available here