(Ed. Note: Chris Seay responds to recent columns on postmodernism by Kevin Miller.)
Yes, Kevin, let's lose the word "postmodern." It's used so often it has become little more than a place keeper, or worse, a sordid synonym for "being cool." I vote we lose the fads. Keep your flash animation and dark roasted coffee (I'm a tea drinker anyway). But this reformation is not about web graphics and libations; it is one of substance that will outlast our current lingo. I'm excited you will join us in San Diego at the Emergent convention because as you join our generative friendship, you (and D'Souza, whom you quote, for that matter) will find out that this transition is rooted in carefully contemplated and heartfelt beliefs. These are some of the things you may discover over a few fish tacos on a patio in California:
- We don't all head off to the hospital when we get sick. In fact my family's health care practitioners are homeopaths, naturopaths, and alternative providers. My children are not born in the sterile confines of an operating room; they are welcomed to the world in a large bathtub in our living room by a midwife, family, and spiritual community. Insane as it may seem to modern man whose love of science is immeasurable, we do not immunize our children or have a love affair with psychotherapy.
- Linear thought will not be abandoned, but we must realize it is not the panacea. So preach Romans fifty weeks a year and ignore the wisdom literature, but don't act surprised when your church is filled only with fearful suburbanites and the engineers you love so much.
- The building phase has begun, a new worldview is emerging that is no longer articulated simply by its antithesis. In fact, we consider the "Emergent Convention" a ground-breaking ceremony because the centerpiece will be the future, not the blunders of the past. The demolition will continue, but we will forge ahead building much more than we tear down.
- No one is completely rejecting modernity. We are rejecting the worship of modernity, her favored children 'reason and science', her belief in the progress of man, and her arrogant pyramids (i.e., Maslow and Food Groups).
- Stop defining beauty like it is embodied by a Thomas Kincaid painting. Beauty is about reality, and the church has neutered the gospel. It's time to celebrate aesthetic actuality instead of evangelical fantasy.
- I am not familiar with anyone foolish enough to believe the "post modern matrix is the savior of the church." Any culture is at best neutral to the gospel. If my friends and I are PPM's then it should be clear we are championing the gospel and missional values, not what you describe as "ministry intentionally influenced by postmodern theory."
- Postmodern theory has already transformed academia, the arts, and sciences. In fact, Modern Science ended with Einstein's Theory of Relativity. So be cautious celebrating modernity's triumphs in everything from aerospace, Rifkin's Biotech Century, and the so-called modern gene-splicers. It is undue praise and sounds a bit like Al Gore taking credit for the Internet.
- It's not nice to objectify truth, she doesn't like it. Just allow her to be who she is, accurate and dependable. Your wife wouldn't like being treated like an 'object' and neither does she.
I could go on, but it may not help. Rant and counter-rant will only create more frustration. There is more to this transition than the merits of the argument. Instead of debating our propositions and creating malice and division (a la Piper and Pinnock), I invite you into relationship—let's be pals. You know, eat good food, talk theology, and go see a movie. I'm sure we could both learn a lot, I'll have you eating tofu and wearing Birkenstocks in no time and, who knows, maybe I'll alliterate a sermon or two.