Monday, April 11, 2011

GIANTS IN THE LAND - I AM COMMITTED TO NOT BEING COMMITTED TO ANYTHING BUT NON-COMMITMENT

Modernism…
1. …begins with the finite “I” as opposed to the infinite God.

2. …sees epistemological certainty is both desirable and attainable.

Postmodernism lines up with number one above but, instead of correcting this inappropriate focus, pushes even further in the wrong direction. Modernism was a shift away from grounding the core of reality in the eternal, personal, Creator toward a man-centered perspective. Though it was not a shift that necessarily eliminated God, it surely displaced Him. Jewish philosopher Abraham Joshua Heschel once stated, "God is of no importance unless He is of supreme importance." As well, it was not a shift that eliminated the recognition of objective reality but it turned attention in the direction of subjectivity. Postmodernism, or what some have referred to as “late modernism”, moves further in this direction, leading some to deny the existence of absolute, objective truth or, at least, assume a position that emphasizes the impossibility of knowing absolute, objective truth. Whereas modernism insists that epistemological certainty is both desirable and attainable, postmodernism tends to emphasize that it is neither desirable or attainable. Such certainty is seen as narrow-minded and discriminatory prejudice and, therefore, is to be avoided. Though it is true that there are subjective limitations in dealing with objective reality, postmodern thought allows such limitations to consume any ability to deal with objective reality, claiming that such certainty is arrogant, bigoted, “out of date”, totalizing, manipulative and controlling. It is thought that insisting upon such a thing as THE truth eliminates the richness of diversity and is therefore undesirable.

Philosophic and cultural shifts are surely characteristic realities of life on planet earth. My main concern relates to the impact such thinking has upon the mission of the church. Under the guise of “engaging the culture” (a legitimate and necessary practice within the mission of the church) we run the risk of simply reflecting or becoming the culture. If Christians abandon belief in objective reality and absolutes, we have no mission. If having no mission is seen as preferable due to the desire to avoid being perceived as too narrow in our beliefs (arrogant, bigoted, “out of date”, totalizing, manipulative and controlling) we have simply erased the line of distinction between Christianity and everything/anything else. This obviously eliminates the mission of the church. What we have at this point is placing more value on human/earthly culture than on the kingdom of God. Human culture and opinion transcends Biblical revelation and, therefore, such an emphasis as “our citizenship is in heaven” or “seek first His kingdom and His righteousness” becomes subject to the higher standard of “how will I be perceived if I emphasize such ideas?” There is, therefore, nothing to actually believe in, be committed to or stand for.

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