Sunday, October 16, 2005

Postmodernism

So, my job is to edit sermons for television. Easy enough. But what's made it increasingly difficult over the past several months is my own distance from where the church and pastor are, theologically. I'm aware that this is a shift in myself. But what it means is that I have to edit and propagate things with which I disagree.

It's frustrating.

Take postmodernism, for instance. See Brian McLaren (www.anewkindofchristian.com) if you don't know what that means. My point is, it's not a four-letter word for me. I'm not saying I buy whole-heartedly into every philosophy with the label "post-modern," but I'm not going to dismiss it entirely out of hand. Besides which, I think it's inevitable that worldviews shift, just as inevitable as the modern world was at the end of the medieval age. I think there are a lot of opportunities in the postmodern world, and I'm excited at the prospect of discovering how to follow Jesus into this new world. I think that's a whole lot better attitude than just bitching about how things are changing, which is what I hear from a lot of the Christian establishment.

Times change. Ideas grow and move, come in and out of fashion. Following Christ is what matters, regardless of what world you're in. Personally I think too many leaders are still stuck in the "state church" mindset. We don't want to actually have to participate in the marketplace of ideas. In my view, there is a real cowardice among certain pastors. We don't want to have to actually know why we believe anything. I don't think blind acceptance constitutes faith. Faith requires a certain willingness to not know, to accept what God says. That doesn't mean I have to accept anybody's particular interpretation of what God says, and if I don't I'm a heretic.

Maybe I'm overreacting. But I want to follow Jesus in the ways of truth, trusting that I'll find it in Him. I don't want to be ordered from on high that I have to agree with the establishment on a huge checklist of issues before I'm a bonafide Christian.

4 comments:

Friar Tuck said...

what things does your pastor say that you disagree with?

Travis Greene said...

Well, for instance, he teaches a pretty Dispensationalist view of Revelation. I don't mind this in itself, it's just that he teaches it as the only interpretation, even though historically it's pretty recent.

He thinks (or at least teaches) that postmodernism is synonymous with moral relativism, i.e. there is no absolute moral truth. While some postmodern thinkers have articulated this view, postmodernism itself as a phenomenon is much more complicated.

In his opinion there are only two positions one can hold on the Bible. Either you believe it is the inerrant Word of God to be read entirely literally and thought of as an instruction book and authoritative on all historical and scientific questions, or you are a liberal who only teaches what people want to hear. Based on his qualification for what a "Bible-beleiving" Christian is, G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis would be firmly in the "dirty liberal" category.

The specifics aren't really what bothers me though. It's the attitude. The smug superiority, the snide comments about other religions and their honored figures, and the constant harping on having a (very narrowly defined) Christian worldview and winning pointless culture wars is starting to truly piss me off. There's way too much "us vs. them" and not nearly enough "let's be better people, and make other people's lives better".

Also the double-standard for women bugs me. I know I have no future here, but I need the job.

Friar Tuck said...

Yes, I think humility will be a pretty important evangelistic tool in the future.

Travis Greene said...

That's the thing, most people are willing to talk about spiritual things if you're not a total ass about it.