So what exactly is postmodern thought? What does it look like? And why do we think this way?
As I’ve mentioned before, I hated being labeled a postmodern. I’ve since learned that hating being labeled is in itself very postmodern. The more I read about postmodernity, the more it resounds. And the more I learn, the more I feel like I can connect with people in a postmodern world. I offer some thoughts hoping that this will help all of us in Renovo connect a bit better. So what exactly is postmodern thought? What does it look like? And why do we think this way?
As I’ve mentioned before, I hated being labeled a postmodern. I’ve since learned that hating being labeled is in itself very postmodern. The more I read about postmodernity, the more it resounds. And the more I learn, the more I feel like I can connect with people in a postmodern world. I offer some thoughts hoping that this will help all of us in anoallsso connect a bit better.
The odd thing is that postmodern thinking is what allows people to justify a “what’s right for me is right for me and what’s right for you is right for you (except if Christianity is right for you, that’s always wrong)” mentality. The idea that truth is contextual and truth is fluid allows people to do, basically, whatever they want, even change beliefs in the middle of a thought. We saw this a little bit with presidential hopeful John Kerry. Not so much in his flip-flopping but in the fact that the supporters saw no problem with it. We saw it a bit with President Clinton revising such basic English words as “is”.
So, how does one connect with this type of thinking? Personally, I think that in as much as this thinking can be used by the enemy to justify bad behavior and sin, it can be used by God for good. Once someone comes to the REAL truth, there is less resistance to abandoning a previous belief system.
We are fine with them. We are fine with them being unanswered. Basically, knowledge and truth are so big and pieces of it are everywhere. No one person can ever come to the total truth because they will never assemble the entire puzzle. The knowledge that you have, your piece of the puzzle, is truth to you and you base your life on that truth.
It is from this basis that we see the emerging church emerge. We are not content with religion for the sake of religion and tradition without explainable basis. Legalism is, in particular, an anathema. WHY can’t we dance? WHY can’t I have a beer? WHY can’t I smoke? I think we are open to Truth if it can be Biblically justified, but if it is a loose tie, or a tradition of men, or is contradicted elsewhere in Scripture, forget it.
We are searching for truth. We are asking questions. And we are fine with not knowing the answers to a degree, just don’t try to fake it if you don’t know either.
This is a weird one. Postmoderns are always aware of the subtext, what’s NOT being said. We read between the lines, above the lines, under the lines and between the letters too. We have been raised by mass media and are used to being “spun”. When we are marketed to, we know it. Fading is the day of subtle advertising. We count product placement in movies, we know that songs on Smallville are on a WB record label.
We have been marketed to with reckless abandon our whole lives. We don’t want to be marketed by the church. We want a REAL experience. Forget Reality Show reality, we want the Truth. We are so into finding the Truth that we look in places we shouldn’t for it.
The benefit, is once converted, we will devour the Word. And the Word stands up to the subtext test. What it is NOT saying is as important as what it says. And what it is NOT saying is to be relevant. What it IS saying is to be counter-culture and to connect with people.
We don’t make anything anymore, we buy it. Grandpa used to make things in his shop, but we go to IKEA. You can’t make it for as cheap as you can buy it. And when we are done, we throw it away. We don’t have anything worthy of passing down.
So get this, this creeps into our art. Our artforms are hip-hop, electronica, collage. Sample heavy hip-hop takes what has been created and re-packages it. Collage takes existing images and places them meaningfully on a page or sculpture.
What does this mean? I don’t know. Ideas?
We are well versed in media. Video, print, music, whatever. We have been shaped by media. Not just “The Media” (sounds a lot like The Family (use mobster accent when reading)), although that has shaped us too. We are bombarded by media and “imprints”. My friend Derek will tell you what that means.
Does this mean we use media to connect? Or should we back off and use silence? I think silence shouts in this world of noise.
This is just a small peek at postmodern thought. For now, I’ve got nothing else to say here, except that we have a lot of thinking to do and a lot of questions to ask.