Saturday, August 12, 2006

Postmodern Attractions

I'm really a little too old to be Gen X.

I turned 40 this summer, meaning I was born in 1966, the "tween" years between Boomers and Gen X. But throw in the fact that all of my formative childhood years were spent in tiny Texas towns in a pre-internet age, and you could probably peg most of my life in the Boomer or even pre-Boomer worldviews.

So why have I been attracted to the theological implications of postmodernity?

I don't want to pretend I'm an expert theologian or philosopher, but as I understand some of the ideas in the emerging "postmodern" worldview, what I like is the idea of deconstruction. As an introductory caveat, I'm not a total deconstructionist--I do think that words can have meaning as they truly represent truth and ideas (yes, one of my many paradoxes is that I tend to think in terms of both truth and postmodernity). But I believe that Christianity's dominant position in Western society has made it weak in terms of evaluating our contructs that explain everything from church to politics to relationships to morality and pretty much everything else you can imagine.

Humans like constructs. They give us something tangible to "see" mentally and spiritually. But trouble brews when the construct becomes equal with the intangible truth they were built to represent. When our form of church government or policital position or moral stance (assuming these are not clearly dilileated in the Bible, but even that is very challenging, since we all use the Bible to prove our constructs) becomes equal to God's truth in our own minds, it becomes a sacred cow. We tend to protect it at all costs. Eventually we even lose sight of the actual truth that the contruct was built to represent, and our lives and worldviews become powerless shells, devoid of life and spirit.

That's where the part of deconstruction that I like comes in. It is good and healthy for growing followers of Jesus to deconstruct our constructs. We should take a look at the points of view we hold, boil it down, look at it from different angles, read others' thoughts about it, and most importantly, check to make sure it flows from the Scriptures. So many of our beliefs come from what someone other than a biblical author originally penned, but we have to look at those beliefs very closely and authentically to recognize where we have allowed our constructs to add to or push out the actual truth.

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