Physicality, Absolutes, and Exclusive Coolness

A video inspired by Tripp Fuller from Homebrewed Christianity, who suggested I give a listen to an episode of The Christian Humanist Podcast about the Emergent Church and the Neo-Calvinists.  Well, I gave it a listen, and it was interesting to hear folks from outside the conversation about their sense of Emergent thinking/Church.  I especially appreciated that while they were critical here and there, I felt that they generally (with a noted “coolness” exception I address in the video) engaged the material respectfully and in a way that was thought provoking.  So much so that three things popped up that seemed like they were work considering:

  • To what degree is the “Emergent Church” a movement of actual buildings and congregations? Is it a series of building?  Books? People?
  • When does inclusivity go so far that it is merely an excuse for wishy-washy theology?  Does we have to have a firm theology?  Is it possible to live in intellectual limbo or are we fooling ourselves?
  • When does the attraction to like-minded folks and engaging dialogue lead to demarcation and exclusivity?  Can people be authentic and “cool” at the same time?  What is the relationship between the Emergent Church and culture?

These questions are not particularly new to the theological conversation, so don’t expect anything mind-blowing, but they are what is live for me at the moment, so there we go.

I’d be interested in hearing from other folks out there about their responses to the above questions and my responses in the video.  I would be especially interested in hearing from people that are not directly involved with the Emergent shebang, so if anyone out there has means of sharing this outside the Emergent  blog-o-sphere and can get feedback to share, I would love that.

What is Postmodernity?

Often times those interested in Postmodernism are so interested in the topic that they sometimes struggle to talk about it in a way that is concrete and accessible to folks not already interested.  In this video I try to explain my understanding of postmodernity in a way that folks can get at without needing a degree.  As a result of the simplicity I'm leaving lots out and cutting corners, but the hope is that it is worth it. One of the things I hit on in the vid is my problem with calling the whole shebang "post"modern, when, in fact, modern thinking is hardly past. I think its very name sets it up hurdle to understanding… Has anyone out there also been bothered by this? Invariably, when Christianity and Postmodernism cross paths, the issue of relativism and absolute subjectivism pops up.  I have unabashedly skipped this issue all together. It certainly does require consideration and IS A PROBLEM that some folks with sloppy thinking do  run into. I run into it too, so don't think I'm unaware…  I'm not planning to dodge it forever. Its just that I'm currently writing a paper on the topic and trying to sort through my own thoughts. Eventually I'll address it. In the meantime though, I'd be curious to know what others think:

  1. How would you describe postmodernism to someone who doesn't quite know what it is?
  2. What are the benefits of postmodernism to a life of faith?

Oh, and Wess Daniels, mentioned in the vid, is online here: Gathering in The Light