Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Deconstructing Postmodern Discipleship - The Disillusionment

Okay, I have purposefully taken time in writing this post. At the heart of this post is my ideas on why there is such a disillusionment amongst the younger generations with the older. I need to stress that much of this is my opinion and ideas drawn from numerous pages of reading and study of the surrounding culture. Some of it is from just simply sitting around thinking about it. So, bear that in mind with what you will find below. I believe it is a great source, if not the source, of much of the difficulty and disagreement in our world today.

While postmodernity finds its genesis in the late 19th century, it was not until the mid to late 20th century that it took root and blossomed. Ultimately, at the heart of its growth is a disillusionment with modernity's take on culture and life. Let me give you and example. There are three overarching eschatological views on the end times. Generally(very generally) speaking there is premillenial, amillenial, and then there is the little heard of anymore postmillenial. Oddly enough, postmillenial thought believed that the world would progress eventually to a near utopian condition because of the inherent goodness of humanity's ability to reason. Then something tragic happenned called World War 1. Then, whatever remained of postmillenial thought was pretty much stomped on by World War 2 and the holocaust. With that a steady dose of the reality of the human condition began to creep into society. The inherent goodness of mankind basically ran screaming out the door. Society realized its own self-disillusionment with believing reason would bring about utopia.

Moderntiy's focus on one's ability to think/reason as the highest power, its quest for absolutes in everything, and its denegration of society to a herd to be controlled created the ultimate question of "why are one's ideas better than another's?" Here you have the source of the disillusionment in a nutshell. The postmoderns have cryed foul at the excesses and abuses of power so prevalent in the modern genre. Think Nietzche's will to power and the superman here. Modernity's focus on self above all else created a rift when postmoderns took that very belief to its logical conclusion. A shift is occuring as postmodernity develops more of a stronghold. The inherent worth of the self image is being replaced with an attitude of authenticity, realism, and acceptance. The diversity of ideas in the marketplace has forced society to redefine its own ideals of consumeristic existence. The ideals of loyalty, truth, and commitment have not been abandoned, but have become more closely guarded by the individual. Postmoderns have seen what moderntiy has offered in the past 30 years(Vietnam, Watergate, inflation, Clinton, and the past 8 years of constant bickering with nothing being accomplished) and soundly rejected that way of life. Postmoderns are loyal and committed, but not to the things moderns feel they should be. Perhaps this is the greatest source of difficulty. The modern expects submission to traditional ideals and beliefs because that is the way it is done, an often fails to really understand or know why it is done. The postmodern wonders why it has always been done that way. It is not a rejection of tradition or truth, but faith seeking to understand the foundation of its belief. This wonderment is key to capturing the postmodern in faith and discipleship. Postmodern discipleship must seek to harness the questioning nature and direct the postmodern to Christ by walking alongside them, not pointing a finger while decrying their disrespect and lack of truth.

Previous Posts:


The Evangelism Shift


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just browsing your site.
God bless
Maria in the UK

Blogger Kevin Stilley said...

Hello, interesting. You seem to be focusing on postmodernism as a cultural movement rather than postmodernism as an epistemological commitment. I am not sure that I agree with that rebellion again cultural norms is at the heart of postmodernism, but I do find your premise interesting.

Blogger Professor X said...


Postmodernism is much older than it is given credit for. I believe it found a societal niche in the 60's/70's and has flourished in past 20 years. At heart of all this is the rejection that the individual, and man's ability to reason, are supreme. I believe the world is awakening to the truth that we need each other. This series is a great challenge for me. I am enjoying it.


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