Thursday, February 05, 2009

A New Kind of Conversation

“A New Kind of Conversation: Blogging Toward A Postmodern Faith” edited by Myron Bradley Penner & Hunter Barnes is an attempt to be more of a conversation than just a book. One of the contributors offers a blog on a certain subject then it was open for comments by other bloggers the result is this book. They have succeeded, for there were times I wanted to jump up and respond to some of the comments, but then realizing the book is already written. :(

Blog 1 is an attempt to define what ‘postmodernism’ is. One of the bloggers suggest, which I agree, a better question than ‘what is postmodernism?’ would be “Why is There Postmodernism?”
He then offers 2 reasons 1) Being in our day of pluralism there are so many voices no one is sure what the truth is. One of the points being brought out that with so many groups living by different worldviews that have seemed violent and dangerous (including Christians eg. The Crusades) how are we to live?
I would answer that question by saying we live by love. Not a self-promoting, ulterior motive type of love but a love that only God can put in our hearts. A love that truly seeks the best for the other person, by doing to/for them what we would want them to do to/for us.

2) There is a distrust of accepted sources of authority and truth. He uses one example of children of divorce, saying that kids, though they may not be able to express it verbally, down deep they feel they have been wronged. And if those who are suppose to be faithful to you let you down, then whom can you really trust and believe?
I feel the church has failed to really see the seriousness of divorce on children and how that effects how we do church today. We get all excited and upset about homosexual marriage etc.and yet seem strangely silent on divorce.

On the blog ‘The Bible, Theology, and Postmodernism’ The conversation turned toward discerning heresy. I liked what one of the bloggers said if the community is in loving obedience then heresy will be unheard of. The obedient community will be a check on heresy.
And marginal voices are to be heard with humility, patience and love.
I was reminded of John Wesley’s ‘Quadrilateral’, in which he uses 4 sources in coming to theological conclusions. Any new teaching must be measured by each of these sources.

1) Scripture- the Old and New Testaments
2) Tradition- What does 2000 years of the history of the Church have to say
3) Reason- rational thinking and sensible interpretation
4) Experience- What does a persons personal and communal journey in Christ suggest

Using these 4 sources seems like a good way to stay clear of heresy or unorthodox teaching.

Blog 5 “Evangelical Faith and (Postmodern) Others” dealt with how our faith will be viewed by others outside of our Western, North American context. A problem that we need to admit is that we tend to interpret scriptures according to our own North American perspective, then we want to apply that to all people in all nations, cultures etc.

I think specifically even of our interpretations of the ‘last days’. We tend to have tunnel vision, in thinking that everything the Bible talks about the last days revolves around the United States (us). Eg. We look at the church in America and say “there is a great falling away” and yet fail to realize that in places like China, the church is thriving.

In the final chapters (blogs) the issues of apologetics (or how to reach postmodern people) and spiritual formation was covered. How do we reach them? Primarily by loving them. How will their spiritual growth be measured? Not by their attendance to our church programs and activities but by their ‘Christlikness’

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