Postmodernism and the developing very Modern Emergent “movement”

In our Liturgy and Suffering course, we are going through Postmodernist thinkers as Jim Farwell, our professor, is setting up a way of approaching suffering, and theodicy in general, so that we do not deal with it superficially or just stuff the topic intoÂ… what? (and other stuff).
As Dr. Farwell spoke in class today, I thought of the differences between the “pop-postmodernist” ideas floating around and the stuff presented by postmodern thinkers such as Derrida and Lyotard (among others).
The “Emergent” conversation going on presently among some Christians is quickly dividing into two basic camps. Those who see themselves in the honest postmodern camp and who characterize themselves as having a “conversation” are of one camp, and in the other camp are those streaming toward the newest fad and who want to replicate the successes of some Emergent churches, they are striving to build a “movement.” This latter group is building structures that seem diametrically opposed to the openness of honest postmoderns (or something like that).
“Emergent” is a conversation, not a movement. The success of Emergent, it seems to me and if it truly is what the “conversation” camp is making it out to be, then cannot be an attempt to place it into Modernist structures or within the trajectory of such other movements as the “Seeker” church movement, etc. An honest Emergent, it would seem, does not see the conversation developing onward and into the next big thing, the next movement, the NEXT work of God, but of considering that other which is outside the framework of Modernism – seeking to converse about that which has not yet been considered. I think, anyway.
There is, of course, yet anther way.

4 thoughts on “Postmodernism and the developing very Modern Emergent “movement”

  1. Many will also be depressed to know that we’re quickly moving into post-post-modernism. Younger people are seeking ritual and meaning, and they dont want some watery nonsense. Religious structures, namely liturgical ones, can make significant gains in baptizing the culture in the age to come (in my opinion), but the church will first have to be extra careful that the meaning and ritual is intact and not sold out to the post-moderns.

  2. Many will also be depressed to know that we’re quickly moving into post-post-modernism. Younger people are seeking ritual and meaning, and they dont want some watery nonsense. Religious structures, namely liturgical ones, can make significant gains in baptizing the culture in the age to come (in my opinion), but the church will first have to be extra careful that the meaning and ritual is intact and not sold out to the post-moderns.

  3. I agree, for the most part. It is intriguing to me, however, when we think about God being beyond our understanding (not so much beyond our knowing in relationship). Some aspects of postmodernism which emphasizes thinking about the completely “other” and opening new ways of thinking about such things can play a part in our continuing to bring God to our world.

  4. This is very interesting. I visited a fledging “emergent” church in Norfolk on Sunday–nice group of folks, though rather homogenous, all young and white with no exceptions, more evangelical than I would have expected. It’s lead by Ron Jones, whose blog, “The Great Marriage,” I’ve been reading for a long time.
    I’ve also been visiting websites allied with the emergent conversation and so forth, but I still don’t understand what’s going on. It seems that all these groups know one thing about themselves, they’re “postmodern” and definitely not “modern,” but outside of muscial and architectural uses of the term, I don’t understand what that means. They might as well be defining themselves as “rwdfs” vs. “lkjps!” 🙂
    I tend to understand things in a more mystical vs. traditional, or esoteric vs. exoteric continuum. Can you help me understand what is “modern” vs. “postmodern” as it relates to this conversation?
    Thanks,
    jon

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