The church in the postmodern world essay

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The church in the postmodern world essay

Whereas the word modern was almost always used until quite recently as a word of praise and as a synonym for contemporary, a growing sense is now evidenced that we can and should leave modernity behindin fact, that we must if we are to avoid destroying ourselves and most of the life on our planet.

Modernity, rather than being regarded as the norm for human society toward which all history has been aiming and into which all societies should be usheredforcibly if necessaryis instead increasingly seen as an aberration.

A new respect for the wisdom of traditional societies is growing as we realize that they have endured for thousands of years and that, by contrast, the existence of modern society for even another century seems doubtful. Likewise, modernism as a worldview is less and less seen as The Final Truth, in comparison with which all divergent worldviews are automatically regarded as "superstitious.

Insofar as a common element is found in the various ways in which the term is used, postmodernism refers to a diffuse sentiment rather than to any common set of doctrinesthe sentiment that humanity can and must go beyond the modern. Beyond connoting this sentiment, the term postmodern is used in a confusing variety of ways, some of them contradictory to others.

Introductory Items

In artistic and literary circles, for example, postmodernism shares in this general sentiment but also involves a specific reaction against "modernism" in the narrow sense of a movement in artistic-literary circles in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

Postmodern architecture is very different from postmodern literary criticism. In some circles, the term postmodern is used in reference to that potpourri of ideas and systems sometimes called new age metaphysics, although many of these ideas and systems are more premodern than postmodern.

Even in philosophical and theological circles, the term postmodern refers to two quite different positions, one of which is reflected in this series.

Each position seeks to transcend both modernism in the sense of the worldview that has developed out of the seventeenth century Galilean-Cartesian-Baconian-Newtonian science, and modernity in the sense of the world order that both conditioned and was conditioned by this worldview.

But the two positions seek to transcend the modern in different ways. Closely related to literary-artistic postmodernism is a philosophical postmodernism inspired variously by pragmatism, physicalism, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, and Jacques Derrida and other recent French thinkers.

By the use of terms that arise out of particular segments of this movement, it can be called deconstructive or eliminative postmodernism. It overcomes the modern worldview through an anti-worldview: While motivated in some cases by the ethical concern to forestall totalitarian systems, this type of postmodern thought issues in relativism, even nihilism.

It could also be called ultramodernism, in that its eliminations result from carrying modern premises to their logical conclusions. The postmodernism of this series can, by contrast, be called constructive or revisionary.

It seeks to overcome the modern worldview not by eliminating the possibility of worldviews as such, but by constructing a postmodern worldview through a revision of modern premises and traditional concepts. This constructive or revisionary postmodernism involves a new unity of scientific, ethical, aesthetic, and religious intuitions.

It rejects not science as such but only that scientism in which the data of the modern natural sciences are alone allowed to contribute to the construction of our worldview.

A postmodern world will involve postmodern persons, with a postmodern spirituality, on the one hand, and a postmodern society, ultimately a postmodern global order, on the other. Going beyond the modern world will involve transcending its individualism, anthropocentrism, patriarchy, mechanization, economism, consumerism, nationalism, and militarism.

Constructive postmodern thought provides support for the ecology, peace, feminist, and other emancipatory movements of our time, while stressing that the inclusive emancipation must be from modernity itself.

The term postmodern, however, by contrast with premodern, emphasizes that the modern world has produced unparalleled advances that must not be lost in a general revulsion against its negative features. From the point of view of deconstructive postmodernists, this constructive postmodernism is still hopelessly wedded to outdated concepts, because it wishes to salvage a positive meaning not only for the notions of the human self, historical meaning, and truth as correspondence, which were central to modernity, but also for premodern notions of a divine reality, cosmic meaning, and an enchanted nature.

From the point of view of its advocates, however, this revisionary postmodernism is not only more adequate to our experience but also more genuinely postmodern.

It does not simply carry the premises of modernity through to their logical conclusions, but criticizes and revises those premises. Through its return to organicism and its acceptance of nonsensory perception, it opens itself to the recovery of truths and values from various forms of premodern thought and practice that had been dogmatically rejected by modernity.

The church in the postmodern world essay

This constructive, revisionary postmodernism involves a creative synthesis of modern and premodern truths and values. This series does not seek to create a movement so much as to help shape and support an already existing movement convinced that modernity can and must be transcended.

But those antimodern movements which arose in the past failed to deflect or even retard the onslaught of modernity. What persons can we have to expect the current movement to be more successful? First, the previous antimodern movements were primarily calls to return to a premodern form of life and thought rather than calls to advance, and the human spirit does not rally to calls to turn back.

Second, the previous antimodern movements either rejected modern science, reduced it to a description of mere appearances, or assumed its adequacy in principle; therefore, they could base their calls only on the negative social and spiritual effects of modernity.

The current movement draws on natural science itself as a witness against the adequacy of the modern worldview. In the third place, the present movement has even more evidence than did previous movements of the ways in which modernity and its worldview are socially and spiritually destructive.

The fourth and probably most decisive difference is that the present movement is based on the awareness that the continuation of modernity threatens the very survival of life on our planet. For these reasons, the failure of the previous antimodern movements says little about the possible success of the current movement.

Advocates of this movement do not hold the naively utopian belief that the success of this movement would bring about a global society of universal and lasting peace, harmony, and happiness, in which all spiritual problems, social conflicts, ecological destruction, and hard choices would vanish.

There is, after all, surely a deep truth in the testimony of the world's religions to the presence of a transcultural proclivity to evil deep within the human heart, which no new paradigm, combined with a new economic order, new child-rearing practices, or any other social arrangements, will suddenly eliminate.

Furthermore, it has correctly been said that ''life is robbery": These two truths, especially when contemplated together, should caution us against unrealistic hopes.Towards a multi- & meta-cultural Postmodern Philosophy.

Prelude. Muslim scholarship Regarding the many historical influences determining the outbreak of the Renaissance, the earliest phase of humanistic modernism, at the end of Medieval Europe, one should not (as was & is usually done by Europacentrists to suggest the originality of modernism) underestimate the major role played by the masters.

Characteristics of a Postmodern Emerging Church Theology. The emerging or emergent church according to (Reynolds, ), is a controversial movement that was founded in the late twentieth century to react to the influence of modernism in Christianity.

Introductory Remarks

Dec 10,  · This is a blog written while trying to live creatively between the times; between the death and resurrection of Christ and the expected consummation signified by the Kingdom of God. Dear Twitpic Community - thank you for all the wonderful photos you have taken over the years. We have now placed Twitpic in an archived state.

Understanding the influence of postmodernism in the church may be easier if we view it as an extension of or a reaction to some of the key ideas held during . For your convenience, following are new links: No compensation received for these listing, except an occasional link exchange.

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