Wednesday, August 23, 2006

PoPoMo Explained

I'm not sure if it is the right moniker or not but post-post-modern seems to fit. The post-modern effort to seek relativity has been great - we are able to de-construct reality in a way that the modern era did not allow. We generally now have the ability to question and reason without fear of being called a heretic (I did say generally...) We can make relative truth claims that don't deny another truth. We can seek to understand another viewpoint without having to wholeheartedly adopt/reject that viewpoint. Post-modern thinking has brought many intellectual and spiritual freedoms.

Yet, what happens beyond the post-modern experience? Hence - how do we express a post-post-modern viewpoint in the Christian faith? I feel we are working towards convergence and connectiveness in a way that would have not been possible in modern or post-modern thinking. Not sure what we will call this new age but it is certain that endless de-construction leads to nominalism on a physical level and nihilism on a psychological level. The effort of thinkers in philosophical and faith communities is now that of building bridges between deconstructed "truth" statements and the quest for spiritual significance.

Some would argue that there is no basis for faith without absolute, foundational, doctrine or dogma or truth claims. The purpose of post-post-modern thinking is not to re-construct these sort of statements. Rather, the effort is aimed at using faith and reason in a mutually supportive manner - allowing each to influence the other as faith communities build a collective truth. Anyone who has read all four Gospels must realize that each of these communities had their own understanding of Jesus and how they were called to act in the world. The post-post-modern effort is no different - each faith community must seek to construct an authentic reason for being, believing and serving based on their experience of Christ. And these faith communities must be willing to recognize that their experience of Christ will change over time - so too must each community change in response. The inability of faith communities to change/adapt is but one in a long line of explanations for the "rapid decline of the mainline church."

So an explanation of PoPoMo is a little drawn out and may best be summarized with the business slogan: change or die. More appropriately for a faith community it can be expressed: respond to God's voice as heard in your community and you will remain relevant, continually able to express Good News to all you meet.