Jan 23, 2004

Problems clearing towards a definition

I'm trying to think definitionally about "postmodern Christianity" because it's something I don't have handy and something I promised a while ago that I would think about.

Finding a definitional way to state rethinking this religion with this philosophy isn't the hard part as much as finding a decent and non-violent description of postmodernism. The quickest one is "always being suspicious of metanarrative," but this does more violence to the scope of relations than I am comfortable with, especially when talking about postmodernism as it meets Christianity. It's almost a definition with amnesia, since it remembers the old enemy but constantly forgets what's being saved.

A more narrative description that people find palatable is "a process of extraction from Modernism," though part of the reason it's palatable is it's indefinite fog. "Modernism" is left open and thus so is "extraction."

I'm also worried about postmodern Christians are concerned just with the reading of texts, not because that isn't there or relevant or important - in an age that is protestantized under the banner of scientific-historicism those questions are often first but still maybe concerns too within the framework they're proposing to remove. As if postmodern Christianity was the disgruntled child of Modern Christianity: always reacting to, alienated by and fighting against its parents. I want to "get over" Modern Christianity in such a way that I can stop asking and answering those questions.

This is only a problematization, and a case for the need of a definition. I hope to start a sketch - with a postponed thought towards its connection to Christianity - especially considering postmodernism's development as the co-joining of phenomenology and post-structuralism.