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I will be doing some teaching on this topic in the days ahead and would appreciate hearing whatever thoughts and experiences people would like to share.

It's obvious that the postmodern worldview is rapidly becoming the predominant perspective in the U.S., as, indeed, it already is in Europe and Canada. What are the implications for Christian faith, community life, and institutional Christianity? Let's discuss.

- - -

A few links to orient you to the topic:
- http://followingjesus.org/invi...postmodern_world.htm (and be sure to follow the link at the bottom of this page to the one on "a dying church" then the one at the bottom of that page to "cultural conformity"

Here's another good link, from an evangelical Christian perspective:
- http://www.scriptoriumdaily.co...ter-to-evangelicals/

And and attachment in pdf which contrasts the pre-modern, modern and postmodern worldviews.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Phil,

PDF Docworldviews.pdf (37 Kb, 8 downloads) Three Worldviews
 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil,
This is an important question you ask....and the writings give rise to reflections the church certainly needs to consider if they want to have a significant role in people's lives. There is a shift in the centering power in the world, which unfortunately, organized religion still grips too tightly to wanting to be right and to have the exclusive role of dispensing the truth according to doctrine and theology as defined by far too man of those who teach it, who are not exemplary in living that truth. It has undermined and diminished the beauty and depth of the greatness of our God and Creator, and all that manifests human and divine love here on earth. You continue to be present to those who seek in the church without walls, opening the way for each heart to explore and define what gives life meaning. We are moving toward the day when Christ is arriving through the cloud of unknowing and activating our own personal journey to God within us. I have great faith in the expanding Spirit of the God I call Beloved, and each heart being guided to a way to celebrate, to pray, and to come to know the One who dwells within our hearts and souls and minds and spirits.
Your entry in the daily seed prompted a reply from me in the night. There is something in that personal testament that touches on the past, present, and future about which you ask.
Here is an exchange I just shared in the night with a young friend from another country that witnesses to this. I share it with you...between two hearts before God....


Quote from Edward Meyrick Goulburn:

"God, though present everywhere, has His special residence, as being a pure Spirit, in our minds. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." He is somewhere in the recesses of our soul, in the springs of our existence, in that mysterious, dark, cavernous region of our nature where the wishes, feelings, thoughts, emotion take their earliest rise... The mind is a sanctuary, in the center of which the Lord sits enthroned, the lamp of the consciousness
burning before Him."
-- Edward Meyrick Goulburn, "Thoughts on Personal Religion."
1871.

On Fri, Sep 24, 2010 at 2:57 PM, <naomifstone@aol.com> wrote:

S.
Mmmmmmm, reading this in the night, like this, sends a thrill moving through me.....makes me say, yes, yes, yes, I feel that. I do. How wonderful to even hear someone mention His Presence, and He stirs. Perfectly quiet, almost four in the morning, and I am in the midst of that nameless mystery in which we live, move, and have our being. How blessed are we to know the life in which All are found! A thousand ways we mortals try to find meaning......and He SHINES out from deep within us.
Sweet moments of revelation. (And you are there, dear one, loving Him too....humbled in the truth of His PRESENCE.)
A thousand prayers of gratitude pour out into the night....It is His Love that transforms us and calls us to surrender to be filled with the Purity that is His. His Truth....His Light....His precious Being that encircles us and lights the flame!
Love, Naomi

From S.
beautifully said by Edward Meyrick! the name of the book is quite curious too, a personal religion - very intimate philosophy that Sufis also understand. each soul has an unique way of being and relating and experiencing the Presence of the Real, loving the Beloved - hence each one of us must discover and shape and give life to this personal religion, our personal landscape where we meet with God.

much love dear. i join with your deep prayers and sighs.

S

Quote from all those years ago....

"God, though present everywhere, has His special residence, as being a pure Spirit, in our minds. "In Him we live, and move, and have our being." He is somewhere in the recesses of our soul, in the springs of our existence, in that mysterious, dark, cavernous region of our nature where the wishes, feelings, thoughts, emotion take their earliest rise... The mind is a sanctuary, in the center of which the Lord sits enthroned, the lamp of the consciousness
burning before Him."
-- Edward Meyrick Goulburn, "Thoughts on Personal Religion."
1871.

Phil,
I have great faith in the God of every heart to guide us in the great opening to that Love that gives meaning to our lives and guides us to live and move and have our being in the path of those who have walked before us and walk with us now in countless ways! Our personal and group inquiry and witnessing to each other is an important part of that seeking, and there where two or more gather in his name, is the church where he dwells with us....from now to the end of time. It is His Promise.

Love, Naomi
 
Posts: 74 | Location: Iowa, called Heartland | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Naomi, it's good to see a post from you. I've received benefit from each time you write.

Phil--I think this is an important topic, too. One thing that sticks out to me in myself and in friends of around my age or younger--early to mid Generation X--is a cautiousness about submitting ourselves to spiritual authority. To some this might look like a spiritual problem or a character flaw. And perhaps it is one or the other. But from the inside, it feels like neither to me. It feels logical, and necessary, to respectfully listen to, but respectfully question, authority. I think the first link brought that out as a hallmark of postmodernism, grown out of seeing such things as the Holocaust result when people just follow orders.

This reserve towards authority, spiritually, can make finding peace more difficult, in my experience. But it has its value, I believe.
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Here's another very short but meaningful definition of postmodernism: www.pbs.org/faithandreason/gengloss/postm-body.html
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Naomi, I second Ariel's remarks about how good it is to have you share your reflections here. Your exchange with S is also very fine. Thank you for sharing it with us.

You wrote:

quote:
I have great faith in the God of every heart to guide us in the great opening to that Love that gives meaning to our lives and guides us to live and move and have our being in the path of those who have walked before us and walk with us now in countless ways!


Yes, same here. Only I wonder to what extent the Christian church will be an instrument of God's love in the future. It's certainly supposed to be, but postmodern folk just don't connect with its dogmatic emphases, which I can't see the church neglecting without diminishing its unique message.

Interestingly, "spirituality" is quite popular among those with postmodern leanings, though religious spirituality much less so. Here's are a few relevant quotes from a website I recommended recently in the weekend edition of Daily Seed:
quote:
4. Theology without spirituality is empty, spirituality without theology is blind. When theology is “thin,” it is often because it is not steeped in prayer; when spirituality is “lite,” it is usually because it is theologically vacuous. . .

5. Spirituality is theology with attitude, theology with soul – but not a soul without a body. A truly Christian spirituality will be incarnational – but it will not idolise health. And it will be cruciform – but it will not glorify pain. Fasting has been called praying with your body, but feasting should be praying with your body too. . .

8. In an important sense, then, (Christian) “spirituality” is almost synonymous with discipleship, with starting from exactly where you are and taking the next step in following Jesus wherever he leads. . . .


I believe orthodox Christian theology can exist with many aspects postmodernity, but some are clearly problematic. More on that in another post.
 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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My heart sings...about how
God's saving Love wants to come to us through every expression, through people, through creation, through nature in different ways, in special moments....and upon reflection....we one day realize it was a quality of God in each ....in everything that we recognize....it is remembrance......and we see and behold something that opens us inside....and we are messengers ....if we dare to be...... vision-carriers .....vessels of divine remembrance...... if we will surrender to divine intention......and trust His coming to us...through us....He who dwells in us.....we are the chalice of love....the cup of divine nectar....the holy grail that God creates to offer communion to each other....and like the hymn....we taste and see the goodness of the Lord.

We bow to the miracle....of it.....when it is revealed to us that it is divine presence ....that He shows us His Face in A Love that we cannot comprehend .....it is so beyond us....and it changes us....and it is never taken from us....once we know...

The arrival of this revelation...is the arrival of Christ within us....and we all wait for that coming .....even without knowing it...we hunger for it....
It is the sweetest communion in all the world and beyond.....my longing was for the ultimate intimacy....the birth and flowering of divine presence....truly divine intimacy.....and pure joy...... and it opens up an ocean inside of us.......an infinite flowing sea.........
every moment is a flowering...a blooming....a breath of beauty....and we are speechless and humbled before it....and dissolved in it..........nothing is for ourselves alone..........and yet.........it is personally and uniquely and divinely given in a passing moment not to own....but to share......joy on the wing........i reach for the words to you....and when they come.....then they come out in my sharing with someone else.....the Beloved speaks through my lips...flows through my fingers....looks through my eyes....and i become a passage for the expression of this Godness...following in those who walk in His Love..............a breath of the Allness of Love........moving through this given life.....and i fall into this beauty, and the light is so bright....i disappear into it..........vanish into lightness....and suddenly, we are sunlight.....we are cleansing rain....we are prisms of color broken into beams of God's beauty touching everything....making it real....

you seem to be able to remember moments of the flowing stream........and we keep looking for it again....seeking it......and longing to feel it......and then we you feel it together......and inside we know this love... i know and feel what i describe when i risk sharing it.........the whispering of the lovers of God....whispering of the wings of the heart.........and the Beloved is whispering inside of us.....we are breathed by Christ....we can't objectify Him.....
what a blessed thing to behold....to feel....to become.....to live for....perhaps it is surrendering we need to teach.....let God guide us in our loving.....no one can lay claim to what belongs to God's Alone....only the Father knows the hour.....
Christ guides the surrendering.....
I purposely don't write in sentences, because I was an English teacher for years, and I now write in the divine stream of endless love....
never ending stream....of the Beloved's rivering stream....we are listeners for each other.....if someone will truly listen....the truth begins to flow....
blessings and love to your listening posts ....like the caves of the early Christians listening to each other.........daring to wander outside of the rules and laws....drawing fish in the dust....divine swimmers in the ocean of God
revelation is alive in Christ....coming in the cloud of unknowing......becoming known in our hearts as we receive the gift of His great Love.
We are gifts to each other....when we surrender into that love...
 
Posts: 74 | Location: Iowa, called Heartland | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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"...we are listeners for each other..."

Wonderful post, Naomi.
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil---There is a church in the next county over from mine, Lancaster County Bible Church, which is thriving year by year. I think they have well over 10,000 members by now. They are Evangelical without being fundamentalist; and dogmatic where dogma must keep its clarity to be meaningful at all.

What they do well, is offer authenticity for its own sake--we can't take the next step with Jesus till we're honest and clear with ourselves, as much as possible, about exactly where we are with Him--inviting Him to come to us precisely where we are, even if that ain't pretty. And they emphasize relationships and community--"Doing life together".

I can relate to a good deal of the postmodern spirit; but I will accept dogmatic stubbornness, even respect it, where I am allowed to voice my concerns and questions, and where I see realness.
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
It's obvious that the postmodern worldview is rapidly becoming the predominant perspective in the U.S., as, indeed, it already is in Europe and Canada.


I think the term "postmodernism" has had its scope unduly extended here. It makes sense in architecture, literature, and the arts, but I don't think it makes sense in a wider intellectual context. When it comes to public discourse, most people are still rationalists -- which in any case isn't quite the same as being a modernist.
 
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Naomi--I don't know if you check out other threads, but on "Sharing suffering with God" I posted a poem that was brought to mind by your phrase that I quoted earlier.
 
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To All who come here seeking community and friendship....

We spread our wings,and we are gliding from one heart concern to another, one song of faith to another, and distance is no barrier. It is a wonderful gift of the ease of communication to help teach us that inner communion that expands the universe within us.

Thank you, Ariel. I liked the poem you posted.

We each wrestle with the issues and bring our gifts to share with each other...we bring our humility...and the love that moves us to discover community wherever we might find it.

You are good at bringing the questions to the table for all to consider, Phil.
And Rilke says, if we live with the questions, we will one day live into the answers.
Christ is all the time preparing the way....
The light of love comes softly to our awakening hearts.

Whatever form the new church takes, I pray that it may be a house of love, a welcoming sanctuary for all.

Those whose intellect is touched by divine fire, I pray that compassionate listening softens the sharp edges of intelligence to warm and comfort all hearts.

May the new church ease the fears of the people with love, rather than causing fears...in the name of being right.

May the doors of churches be open again, inviting all to enjoy the silence of a place of prayer, and may all be welcome.

May communion be open to every person desiring to come to the table of the Lord.

May men and women become true partners in serving the greater good and may love be mutual
as they guide and invite others to celebrate the presence of the Beloved in the kingdom within us.

May those who guide the church be servants we can trust to point the way to God as Jesus did,
not self-appointed and self-anointed false gods who break our trust and our hearts and abuse our children.

Belovedness flows within us like wine from the generosity of our Lord, may we be anointed by that Love and share it in communion with each other.

May God reign as the living authority over every church and every heart, and may the church help us recognize the signs and clues that open us to divine intention....not dogma created by those who rival God's authority in our lives.

My prayers for the new church could go on and on and on...and I feel most of us who are moved by love long to share with others who will help us learn to be true children of God, men and women of God, lovers of God, not someone labeled with the names of rival denominations...but brothers and sisters in the centering light of Christ.

There are many ways to worship, many faces of the Beloved, and we rejoice in the variation and beauty of creation. May we rejoice in the variation in worship instead of being threatened by what is different.

May we find what connects us all, what heals us all, and discover the ways we are truly a global and spiritual family.

That is a church worth working to create together!

Bless you for listening to each other, loving each other, and being caring enough to hear each other's concerns.

Love, Naomi
 
Posts: 74 | Location: Iowa, called Heartland | Registered: 08 February 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Thanks for those links Phil and Ariel.

From the last link, I like this:

Postmodernism is "post" because it is denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a
characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself."


Right. Good thinking. Smiler

Although, I can identify to some extent with a piece of the postmoderist worldvie--if I understand it correctly:

"If it doesn't happen to me, it can't exist,"

and

"If it doesn't feel good to me and/or make sense to me, it can't be 'right.'"

...which can be a wise intuition at times Smiler or a narcissistic entrenchment at other times. Frowner
 
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Naomi,

Thanks so much for your beautiful prayers above. I found myself praying in agreement with you as I read them. And I do feel blessed by the wonderful people at Shalom Place. I do think of it as a 'church' of sorts. Smiler

Peace,
Shasha
 
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quote:
Originally posted by Derek:
When it comes to public discourse, most people are still rationalists


Derek---When I read that yesterday right after I'd been reading some of the venomous, irrational, irrelevant public comments on a news story, I had to really laugh.

I partly agree that "postmodern" can be so over-used as to be meaningless. However, as a term to describe some of the effects of disillusionment with what modernism seemed to promise, I think it's useful to a certain extent.
 
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quote:
I think the term "postmodernism" has had its scope unduly extended here. It makes sense in architecture, literature, and the arts, but I don't think it makes sense in a wider intellectual context. When it comes to public discourse, most people are still rationalists -- which in any case isn't quite the same as being a modernist.


Hi Derek. We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. The postmodern worldview is definitely "in the wind," as it were, and is slowly influencing all of the institutions of Western culture (which still do have strong rationalist and modernist emphases). Check out thisarticle, which does a good job of naming five specific emphases found in postmodernism. The criticisms that began with art and architecture have branched out into other disciplines as well, most notably philosophy and theology. The five emphases in the article are par for the course in most western universities today.

Now don't get me wrong. There's much about the postmodern critique that I think is valid. For example, the point about language shaping how we see reality: that's so true. It was postmodernity that brought us "inclusive language," so if you're looking for a specific example of its influence, there's one. Also, the skepticism toward modernity and science being able to deliver "objective truth" is also spot-on, as is the critique of the dark side of modernity -- individualism, consumerism, materialism, economic injustice, high-tech deadly wars, alienation, breakdown of communities. So we can't just blow it off because it takes a position of relativism regarding morality and truth.

But postmodernity's relativistic emphases come into conflict with Christianity's contention that there is right and wrong and we can say something about what that is. Also, the issue of truth: we do believe divine revelation sheds light on this topic.

Postmodernity's strong emphasis on "inclusivity" is also both a blessing and a problem. Inclusivity is one of the highest values in postmodernity, and so to exclude any group from anything is generally considered an injustice. It also objects to the Christian belief that Jesus incarnates God more fully than any other religious founder. So postmodernists have difficulty affirming the Christian mysteries, without which it's very difficult to develop an authentic Christian spirituality.
 
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quote:
My prayers for the new church could go on and on and on...and I feel most of us who are moved by love long to share with others who will help us learn to be true children of God, men and women of God, lovers of God, not someone labeled with the names of rival denominations...but brothers and sisters in the centering light of Christ.


Amen to this and to all of the intercessions in your beautiful prayer, Naomi. One of the positive aspects of postmodernity is its emphasis on spirituality and mystical experience. I'm reminded by a quote from the theologian Karl Rahner, who, before his death in 1984, wrote that the Christian of the 21st C. would be a mystic or would not be a Christian at all. I think he saw postmodernity coming, and knew that if we lost site of our mystical core, we'd lose our way completely.
 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've added an attachment to the opening post so you can scroll back up to view it. It's a table that contrasts different aspects of the premodern, modern and postmodern worldviews. You might go down the list and consider how you understand your own perspective. Say you have 100 points to allocate; how many would you give to each of the three?
- fwiw, I'm spread out around 30-40-30
 
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Brian McLaren is considered one of the leading voices in behalf of articulating what it means to be a Christian in this postmodern age. He's got books and articles all over the net, but I think this open letter of his to the evangelical, Chuck Colson, in response to a "Christianity Today" article by Colson is very clarifying.
- http://www.anewkindofchristian...archives/000018.html
 
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That is an excellent letter, Phil; fairly long but very well worthwhile, an easily readable articulation of the legitimate concerns that fuel postmodernist leanings.
 
Posts: 578 | Location: east coast, US | Registered: 20 July 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Phil,

In your initial post on this topic you wrote that you:

“would appreciate hearing whatever thoughts and experiences people would like to share.”

I realize that I am almost a year late but here are my ‘whatever’ thoughts.

First off, I am adverse to labels and boxes in general, and the connotation-laced terminology that can often be part and parcel of the labeling and subsequent conceptualizing. Before commenting on the label definitions of the first linked article you presented us, let me say that I kind of resent the writer’s lead-in text where he writes that ‘Slowly, (the church) accommodated itself to the modern world.’ This can imply that the accommodation was in the arena of scriptural truth.

It can also imply that more accommodation must necessarily be forthcoming in order to keep up with the modern world; and that scriptural truths could / even should, be up for accommodation. (Whereas scripture says: ‘Anyone who is so progressive that he does not remain rooted in the teachings of Christ, does not possess God.’ – 2 Jn 9). I don’t believe there was any ‘accommodation’ that violated the above scripture. Of course, there being no stated mention of what the ‘accommodations’ were, I cannot, nor can any other reader, do more than surmise from what one reads-in from their own personal thinking.

The other thing I dislike is that that statement implies that the ‘modern world’ leads. Some might think it will always lead, must always lead. It doesn’t. Divine Revelation does not come from man. Technology might work like that, but not Divine Revelation -- not religious truth. Divine Revelation was not self-evident. Modernity is not going to lead it anywhere – except perhaps into the drink. As Christians we are made aware throughout the NT that the gospel would be attacked by the governor’s men – the antichrists. (The scripture above is but one example). What do readers think an antichrist looks like? They don’t have horns on their heads.

RE: ‘Premodern’ as defined therein: unfortunately, many people (and I am not alluding to the Pennsy Chick here) have a natural bias against anything old – as if ‘modern’ is automatically and unquestionably better from the get-go. So just the word ‘premodern’ for them, comes with a built-in connotation and perhaps a built-in rejection or offhand dismissal.

So, listed in this Premodern category: Unquestioning acceptance of truth (methinks that ‘unquestioning’ automatically brings connotation of zombie and that’s not so). There’s a smugness or disdain that can accompany the consideration of an ‘unquestioner’ --. despite the statement one guy made about the meek inheriting the earth, and about having the faith of little children, and scriptures that attest the difficulty of sometimes understanding scriptures meaning (see 2 Pet 3:16 & 17 for one example). And too, there’s a difference between questioning and challenging. Between ‘prove it’, ‘prove every little thing’ versus ‘help me see’.

Also, listed in this category: Belief in absolute truths: My comment here is a question: Is Jesus Christ absolutely God? PAUSE here. Think about it, all you who have come to this website on Christian spirituality.

One’s answer affects all the categories that follow. The early Christian martyrs gave blood testimony to their belief in this regard and did not apostasize. There are many in Christendom today that would answer – no more than Buddha or Longnomenwanda or whoever – even perhaps the future’s Governor. Jesus is one avatar among many they say. Jesus is western civilization’s Christ figure. Each civilization has its own. The real Soul Train is the Globalization Express. There are many within Christendom who have already apostasized – with no bloody pressure pressing them to. Plausible liars and ‘progressive’ thinkers have deceived them.

IF Jesus Christ IS absolutely God, then His Divine Revelation has an utmost authority – an authority and weight that modernity can only smash itself against -- or embrace. Actually, modernity and post modernity (civilization) exists as we know it, because there has been a sufficiency of embracers to leaven its rise.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.” (Heb 13:8) Does not that mean Jesus Christ is the same premodern, modern and postmodern. His truth must also remain the same premodern, modern and postmodern. (HIS truth – maybe not the truth of some who call themselves Christians. Scripture cautions us not to become conformed to the spirit of the age. This means don’t accommodate change in gospel truths – despite one’s personal sense of what secular society might consider fairness.

Moving on then, to Modern: Believe truth is based on facts: Where is one going to find facts on the nature of God our creator? Who knows who God is, except God? Where is one going to find facts on religious truth? Methinks this is essentially stupid when it comes to religious truth concerning God and His nature. Christ came because man could not grasp who He is. Still there remains much mystery and we are told that faith is a ‘learn by doing’ reality. “Come follow Me.” “Taste, and see the goodness of God.”

Nobody should believe in the existence of God until man travels to the farthest galaxy and explores and understands and has all the facts on the universe?

In this same category: Looks to science not religion: What science is studying God, the soul, love, immortality, consciousness, heaven and hell? Religion is not science. Science did not put the moon where it is. How does one speak Christianity and looking to science FIRST? Science can support the marvels of God as they exist in material creation, but cannot prove or disprove the nature of God’s love and the efficacy of prayer and attaining intimacy with God. Science cannot lead; it can only follow with observations-based data. Who has observed immortality? Who is funding basic research in this area of interest? Will science ever be able to tell us about resurrection on the third day? Do ‘moderns’ pray with their earth science book? How do moderns live the Christian life pending proof that the truths of scripture are valid enough for them to place faith in it? How can they possibly remain rooted in the teachings of Christ if they never allow themselves to be rooted until they have concrete knowledge – methinks their house must be built on sand in the interim. They will not last. Could not give blood testimony if required and will bloodlessly apostasize at some time in the future. How can I say that? Because they are not rooted. They are studying still -- questioning still. There’s a reason they have not accepted fully. They are waiting on science and believing on science – that’s what the category says.

Which brings us to the other attribute of this category: Questions authority and tradition. This can of course be wonderful, if one is truly searching for deeper and deeper understanding. It depends on the spirit of the believer. Is this questioning in humility or defiance? Do I have docility of spirit? Am I open or closed? Is my heart hardened or soft? What’s troubling to geezer is why this attribute is seen to be different than exists in a ‘premodern’. ‘Premoderns’ question. Yet this is set apart in this labeling and categorizing. One should take pride in one’s being a questioner? I don’t think so. Jesus was not that delighted in Thomas’ need to put his hand in His side. His brother and sister disciples had repeatedly told him over the course of more than a week, what they saw both on Easter morn, and also of the Lord’s subsequent appearance in the upper room that next night. (JN 20:25). And Mk 6:14 -- "Finally, as they were at table, Jesus appeared to the Eleven. He took them to task for their disbelief and their stubborness, since they had put no faith in those who had seen Him after He had been raised".

RE: Post Modern: Truth is subjective / reject absolute truth: Methinks TOAST. Just a smidge of time away from even bothering to pretend to the label Christian. With the firehose of secular realities and the confusion within Christendom, these folk will not stand – perhaps don’t now. Christ said that it would be necessary to pray constantly to survive the periods of end time stress. We are in such a period -- some believe the next to last cycle.

Realize, that in all the above, I am not talking to non-believers who have come to a Christian Spirituality Center website. I am speaking to Christians concerning these mindset categories of Christians.

There were some other important points as well in all that thread and linked articles – like the nonsense statement and veiled threat: “When the church is unwilling to change it will be left in the dust of history”— something scratch would arrogantly boast, but that’s enough for now.

The Brian McLaren link came up as a piece on Cancer.

One point that bears unfortunate reflection was the statement that the church has shown itself to readily conform to the values of the dominant culture it finds itself in. Alas. This is unhappily a fact. And in a certain sense, what I have written here in this post is my meager endeavoring at remedying moderns and post moderns conforming to the dominant culture of American society and American church society.

Shasha in her posts on abortion also fights the good fight regarding resistance to conforming to the dominant culture.

Pop-pop

p.s. I guess that makes me 100 - 0 - 0. LOL – who knew?

p.p.s. Does one have to be narrow-minded to pass through the narrow gate?

This message has been edited. Last edited by: pop-pop,
 
Posts: 465 | Registered: 20 October 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I think this might be the Brian McClaren letter:

http://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/000018.html

I just found it and haven't read it yet.
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Pop-pop, I like what you've shared above. I am in agreement with your points concerning those categories, which you note are an oversimplification.

I can especially resonate with the 'questioning authority' issue. I can do that now with a more docile, humble heart whereas 20+ years ago my questioning Church authority was driven by a need to rebel against a God who represented domineering, oppressive parents. My questioning was a more unconscious defiance, a means to achieve autonomy and safe, separate personhood. It's the "Nobody's going to tell me what to do/believe!"-syndrome. For many young people, conformity equals being killed. Submission can feel like a degradation or a losing of one’s self. I see this in young, Churched people in my psychotherapy practice.

It's the age-old fantasy that in order to be a separate person, I have to be different. I’m me only if I reject you. It may be that in some respects, the post-modern emphasis on individuality, questioning tradition, and relative truths (vs. absolute ones) all harmonizes strategically with a neurotic rejection of authority. That's one of the negative aspect of it; I realize in some people, there are healthy components operating instead.
 
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Folks, here's from a post on the "Get them dunked?" thread, which had somehow veered into the topic of worldviews, about which Pop had expressed similar objections to those he posted above. My response (which went unremarked upon) was as follows:
quote:

Re. worldviews: I completely agree that human nature is human nature is human nature and the dynamics of sin and grace are now as they have been since the Fall. The closer we stay to this, the better. The complicating factor is that we are people of a culture who engage with other people who belong to a culture, and every culture does have its prevailing paradigms/worldviews that shape how individuals both perceive and process information. Missionaries have long appreciated the importance of finding the right language with which to proclaim the Gospel to the peoples they evangelized, and that's why I believe it is important to understand the different worldviews that shape the perception and understanding of people today.

We are living in a time of clashing worlviews, especially in the West; witness the culture wars played out between conservatives and liberals in both the political and religious scene, for example. These are different ways of perceiving and valuing, with different priorities emerging from deeply-held premises about how things are and ought to be. Furthermore, it's not as though these worldviews, even at a strictly secular level, are completely disconnected from the working of the Holy Spirit. There is a "holy ferment" in all of it. There is a way of naming the realities without "having to make labels and boxes to put ourselves in." Concepts and conceptualizing are an inevitable aspect of human understanding and communicating, without which no meaningful culture is developed. We can do this without defining people and judgmentally putting them in boxes, imo. In fact, if one cannot put words to describe one's reality, one does not yet fully own one's experience. Terms like "premodern, modern and postmodern" help us to name the megatrends at work in the world today that we might be able to assess how these systems of valuing have laid claim to us individually, and what we might want to choose to do about that. Until one does such work, the worldview pretty much determines how one's consciousness will operate -- part of the auto-pilot, "monkey-mind" system we all find ourselves in the grip of, to some degree.

These worldviews are subtle, but real, and they do shape how we see reality, even in the Church. There are perfectly orthodox versions of Premodern, Modern and Postmodern Christian theology, as McLaren was trying to point out in his letter to Chuck Colson. As always, there is a tension between Christian belief and those of the culture, and this is true even in pre-modern cultures. Christianity is not intrinsically pre-modern, and there have been (and still are) some very gross, un-Christian pre-modern societies through the ages, none the least of which was the Roman Empire, which was surely at odds with Christianity.

It is often the case these days that Pre-modern Christians who have not understood or grappled with some of the gifts/pitfalls Modernity and Post-modernity dig in their heels and pronounce themselves the "true Church" or the "real Christians" or something like that. All I can say is that they miss out. Vatican II was Catholicism grappling with Modernity, and, as we know, many Catholics rejected the Council, even though not one single dogma was changed. Similarly, fundamentalists and many evangelicals have gone into the trenches in rejection of evolution and other basic scientific teachings. So much arrogance in some of those circles! And it's to be found among Modernist and Postmodern Christians as well in their attitudes toward Premodernity, which still does have important contributions to make -- such as the affirmation of absolutes, universal principles, authority, etc. These do not need to be rejected to embrace the gifts brought by Modernity, but they might need to be understood differently, and the way we live them out might change a bit. That's always been the case.

Culture moves along, with our without the Church, and the Holy Spirit is at work there, to be sure. The Church needs to understand the values and influences at work in the culture, and learn a language that connects -- just like Paul did with the Greeks millennia ago.
 
Posts: 3862 | Location: Wichita, KS | Registered: 27 December 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by Phil:
The Church needs to understand the values and influences at work in the culture, and learn a language that connects -- just like Paul did with the Greeks millennia ago.


Phil, you hit the nail on the head (my bolding).

Somewhere -- I think it was in his 1968 Introduction to Christianity -- the then Joseph Ratzinger made a similar point. If Christianity cannot speak to the reality of people's lives, as they actually experience them, then it becomes something irrelevant.
 
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Shasha,

Thanks for the McLaren link. It worked in getting me to the article – which I have now read.

Phil, Derek and All,

There was a song years back, whose lyrics were: I don’t want her, you can have her, she’s too fat for me!

That’s kind of what reading the McLaren article and all this postmodern, modern, premodern, and emergent discussion and conceptualizing makes me sing. I see from the article that this certainly is a vast discussion arena and maybe even two or three or four arenas.

But who needs it? Living ‘here, now in love’ is sufficient and thensome.

The whole is the sum of its parts. Christendom will best profit from optimization of the holiness of its constituent members. And society at large will best rise under the influence of Christendom’s unadulterated yeast – a yeast without the absolutes removed.

I take it that there are McLarens among the moderns and the emergents too. What each of these other movements propound or fear I am presently unfamiliar with. Not for me to be concerned about anyway, imo. As I’ve oft quoted from Sirach in a section on humility: “What is committed to you attend to, for what is hidden is not your concern”.

Having read the article, I get (I think) a sense of what he fears, but I wasn’t able to discern what postmoderns propound or believe in. I see he describes postmodernism as a ‘movement’ though -- and a ‘transition’.

It seems his (postmodernism’s) concern or fears center on: ‘belief systems which seek control by force or intimidation’; ‘monopolization of truth in the interest of political domination’; ‘the concept of world view is very powerful. And for that reason, it can be very dangerous’; ‘dominating belief systems were responsible for so many millions of deaths, so much torture, so much loss of freedom and dignity, so much damage to the planet’. (Those are extractions from the article).

Certainly manipulation and abuse of many things can go on (has gone on) because mankind is sinful and imperfect, and because we have an enemy with principalities and powers who will assist us in getting things wrong.

This enemy is an accuser as well, and an engenderer of fear. An accuser indeed might voice complaint that Christendom wants to dominate and intimidate, for example – that Christian religion can be very dangerous. This in stark contrast to its being: the Good News, to its formative role in bringing about western civilization as we’ve known it – despite perhaps some periods of imperfect behavior -- imperfect, but far nobler than civilizations characterized by human sacrifice, like that of the Aztecs as one example. (Did you see Apocalypto, btw?)

American society has abused and manipulated the concept of ‘patriotism’ to varying degrees at times. Religion is not the only thing abusable by man, or capable of manipulation for political agendas. The gospel and its ‘absolutes’ that seem to frighten some Christian and atheistic folk is not the sole possibility up for grabs regarding candidacy for distortion and manipulation and abuse for political ends.

What do moderns and emergents as well propound and fear? I don’t as yet know and honestly do not believe will improve my relationships with God and man that I should inquire into.

In a real sense, I don’t see how there is any viability to anything movement-wise or transition-wise save putting the gospel into effect and increasing the sanctity of the adherents to the gospel.

To my mind, the Christian Gospel is not a worldview, nor is it bent on political domination. IN NO WAY!

And yet, yes it does incorporate absolutes — God is an absolute. Jesus is an absolute. Incarnation, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, the descent of the Spirit, the teachings of Christ, the founding of the church, and the parousia – are all absolutes – absolutes for Christians, anyway. Absolutely!

Nothing to fear – everything to put into practice.

By the grace of God we will prevail and thrive -- if we remain salty salt.

Labels and categories, movements and transitions – peh!

Derek,

You quote in your post: “If Christianity cannot speak to the reality of people's lives, as they actually experience them, then it becomes something irrelevant.” (A quote from the Pope to give it some extra credence for me, perhaps).

I, for one, do not see Christian evangelizing being empowered by postmodernism’s talk about dominating belief systems and monopolization of truth for political interest, etc etc. Modernism’s and emergentism’s focus on whatever they entail probably would not impress me as effective evangelization either. All these ‘isms’ seem to shirk evangelization – to be embarrassed by it.

Certainly, Pope Benedict had challenged Christians (RCs as a minimum anyway) to endeavor to both live and proclaim the gospel in maximum relevance to our observers and hearers – fellow humanity. That makes sense.

JP2 remarked that the greatest danger facing mankind today is the loss of the concept of sin. A major and consistent theme of the OT is: he who misses Me, harms himself! Mankind harms itself brutally everyday, increasingly so -- as seen daily in the news. Mankind is missing God – is harming itself.

Church attendance bears witness to mankind’s missing God as well. Among RCs: Europe at 4%, US at ~23% in Sunday mass among alleged RCs.

(imo): In addition to loss of the concept of sin, we have misunderstood the admonition of ‘not to judge’ and have adopted as well, secular society’s admonition to ‘not discriminate’. So we as Christians fail to judge and fail to discriminate. And so, as written in Malachi: We have wearied the Lord – by our saying that every evildoer is pleasing in the sight of the Lord – or else where is the just God. This bears detriment to our society more than any fear of world views does.

Last week at mass for example, in commenting on a reading from Exodus (crossing of the Red Sea) our pastor read a commentary he thought original in its perspective (Pop-pop winced…silly Pop-pop). The commentary brought sympathy to bear on the Egyptians who drowned. Similarly one often hears lament for poor Judas. These commentaries serve to reduce the contrast between good and evil. They serve to validate the Malachi quote mentioned above. Reduction in contrast services our undoing. Scratch slaps his thigh and snickers. God is our Savior and desires to save. Exodus was a substantial and exemplary example of God’s intervention in human history for His chosen people’s sake!

‘Save from what,’ today’s men and women in contemporary Christian and secular society ask?

From what – some promulgated Christian domination and monopolization of truth, from the proclaiming of absolutes as McLaren frets about?

Sin? What’s that? Relevant to peoples lives?

Mankind needs to hear a renewed discussion of sin. This subject is not a particular focus in the pulpit or public forum as it had been decades back.

Sin is relevant to men’s lives. Being free from it is relevant. Nothing is more relevant. A half hour of evening news shows mankind’s lives are rampant with sin and its effects.

We should speak the language of metanarratives and neglect the language of sin? Nah.

fwiw,
Pop-pop
 
Posts: 465 | Registered: 20 October 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Pop, do you think the Renaissance and Enlightenment changed the way westerners understood themselves and the creation? That's generally thought to be the beginnings of what we call modernity, and, to me, there's no doubt whatsoever that it introduced a different lens through which to perceive and analyze things. That's what a worldview does. This shift brought about a cataclysm in Christianity with the Protestant Reformation and a four-century-long period of adjustment in Catholicism, culminating in Vatican II. It brought us apologetics, which was totally unnecessary before this period, as what the Church said about anything was considered The Truth. Of course, it doesn't follow that the Truth the Church proclaims is invalidated, but the way we talk about it and evangelize had to change, and it did, but much, much too late for Europe, which eventually lost all interest in being governed by pre-modernish institutions, of which the Catholic Church is still a prime example. Human nature remains what it always has been, but words like "sin" have to be explained in a way that connects to the mindset of the age without compromising core values.

It is much the same with emerging postmodernity, though we are still early into that. The culture IS formative, and not always for the worse. Sometimes it seems the Spirit's work in secular culture provides the impetus for bringing about needed changes in the institutional Church, and that is the case with post-modernism, to some degree. The "yeast" you refer to is not confined to organized Christianity, but is the working of the Spirit.

Worldview language is just one way of trying to name the mega-trends and shifts happening in cultures. People are people, but the formative influence of culture is rather significant.
 
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