Sunday, November 26, 2006

Whose Afraid of Postmodernism? Part 5

We just recently finished a book by James K. A. Smith called Whose Afraid of Postmodernism? I highly recommend this book if you are interested in postmodernism and the implications that its philosophy might have for the future of the church. For the next five post I will be putting up chapter summaries that we were required to write. They are by no means exhaustive but they may give you a taste of some of the content of the book. Check it out!
Chapter Five
In the last chapter Smith argues for holistic, incarnational living and a return to catholicity. He writes, “…only those who affirm the paradox of the incarnation can see the world with a sacramental imagination.” Smith says this to combat the “Gnostic imagination” witch has captured and taken over our modern churches. The religious life has turned into a life of propositions. You must simply adhere and agree with the specified propositions, which may be different depending on your denomination, to be considered on the right path. This view is clearly anti-incarnational to the core. It leaves the door open to not take seriously the whole of creation.

Smith’s cry to return to one holy, apostolic, catholic, church is a good one. By removing the chains of modern epistemology, the church can find grounds to reunite through confession and ecclesial practices.

Smith’s critique of some churches current use of postmodernity is very telling. Smith writes, “There remains a certain notion that the church needs to “get with” postmodernity such that postmodern culture sets an agenda for the church, rather than postmodernity being the catalyst for the church to recover its own authentic mission.” By treating postmodernity as another evangelism tool then we have simply co-opt postmodernity to fit our modern compartmentalized needs. As Smith says it should be a catalyst in which the church can work to form and shape culture not the other way around.

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