Postmodernity

Obviously am not terribly good at blogging anymore, but I do think I should keep trying.

Most of my time has been taken up trying to finish The Strategic Smorgasbord of Postmodernity, a collection of academic papers that utilize and discuss postmodernism as a way toward understanding a variety of topics – literature, gender studies, religion, and more. It’s written by a number of respected Christian professors and scholars. I’ll be using it as a springboard for an article for undergraduates who are wondering how to navigate postmodern theory.

My overall take on postmodernity and Christianity is that Christians have, first of all, generally misunderstood many of the claims of postmodernity. There’s some dreck in there, but a lot of times we simply generalize the claims of men like Derrida and Foucault and the rest of them (make “bumper stickers” of their work, as Jamie Smith points out in his excellent book which I am also reading). This reductionist approach means we completely misunderstand what postmodernism represents and how we should react/engage with it in the church and as people of the Book.

Bowen’s and Smith’s books go a long way toward giving authors and thinkers the respect they deserve, holding them up to the Book and pointing out where they do and do not provide a way into understanding and walking alongside culture. They also helpfully point out where we’ve swallowed ideas of modernity hook, line and sinker.

There’s a lot that could be said on this, but I’m still mulling it over in preparation for writing the article – and, also, my M.A. thesis, which I’m trying to pull together – so more will probably trickle out later.

One thought on “Postmodernity

  1. Dear Alissa:

    I just read your article in ‘Comment’ reviewing two books on Christianity and Postmodernity, and immediately ran out [well, that’s a metaphor now-a-days, since I ordered it on amazon] and bought ‘Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?’ It is an example of the staff work of the Omnipotence in my life: that book, together with your review, pulls together many threads I’ve been working through recently. In fact, before I knew James K. A. Smith’s book existed, I was afraid I’d had to write it myself. Great relief, and great joy. But now I’d like to read everything on the topic, and review it, and discuss it, and work out a new Christian cultural criticism that engages not only with postmodernity, but with wherever we are heading now — I heard this week that the new phase is the ‘post-human.’

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