Trying to define something like post modernity is really not possible. When it’s called ‘post’ anything it’s describing more what it’s not than what it is. What we know is what that PM is something that comes after Modernity but we’ll be living in it a good long while before we actually get a handle on it.
But, as a wise man told me, the question isn’t whether we’re becoming postmodern or if we’ll become postmodern. The only question now is, “how long will it take to recognize we are postmodern?”
Here are some things to consider…
1. Post Modern, postmodern, post modernity – are all the same thing, don’t get confused by the terms. It’s what follows Modern or Modernity – the collective attitude, mindset, philosophy of life – that has gripped Western Civilization for quite a while now.
2. Post Modern is NOT contemporary music, lighting incense during worship or sitting on pillows instead of chairs. Post Modern is NOT a label to fix on anything that irritates you about church nor is it a label to fix on anything you prefer about church. Post Modernity is not the same thing as the emerging church or the emergent church (which aren’t the same as each other either – go figure…)
3. Post Modern is a term that applies to our whole culture and our present experience in all the venues of life: politics, religion, philosophy, economics, sociology & psychology, the sciences and the arts.
4. Post Modernity does not say that there is no truth. Post Modernity, rather, is sceptical of anyone who claims to have a corner on the truth and will deconstruct every and all efforts to assert that one truth is more valid than another. Post modernity questions, deconstructs and is sceptical of our ability to know what our “truth” is based on.
5. Post Modernity values story over dogma and discussion over lecture.
6. Post Modern is Wikipedia and not Encyclopaedia.
7. Post Modernity, like everything else, will have its right wing, left wing and moderate expressions. Therefore, not all post modern thought or expression should be considered representative of the whole.
8. Modernity accepted as fact what the newspaper reported and what the news anchor said. Post modernity does neither.
9. At present we live in a post modern world. However, for another 20 years we will have struggles as individuals and as communities as our modern ideas keep bumping into our post modern ones.
10. The Church was not born as a truth movement but as a relational movement. The gospel story is not an individual story but a community story – a global story – of reconciliation. It offended both the religious dogma and the philosophical schools of its day. Following Jesus is not about accepting a series of propositional facts but an experiential reality that has never been “one size fits all”. The story of Jesus does not suggest coercion or universalism, it assumes that following Jesus will not be for everyone and no one should be forced to follow our way of life or our beliefs.
Of course, I could be wrong…