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Waxing Hot: A Postmodern Tradition of the New

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The iPhone is new again, Apple.com

 

Ever changing, like a Joyless eye,
That finds no object worth its constancy?
“To the Moon,” Percy Bysshe Shelley

 

The turn of the moon has long fascinated our human desire for novelty. In our postmodern moment, we have a focus on the new as if unique to our time. We consider ourselves a progressive culture with insta-access to the latest of everything. We affirm our progress by continually adapting to the next best thing, updating, upgrading and taking on whatever is waxing hot before it wanes into the unconscious. We have made a postmodern tradition of the new, all while knowing that the new can only ever be now. The “now” contains both what continues and what is new, but the familiar things seem to recede, while the new takes priority and appears to promise us a future with improvements.

Technology and fashion are the prime arenas for the emerging new. The annual iPhone unveil and seasonal fashion weeks are showcases for innovation. Technology provides new forms to meet needs. It uses the new to eliminate the past, forcing a manual adaptation to the new form. Fashion goes beyond need and concentrates on material abundance and variety in... Read More

There is No Such Thing as “Church”…Just Us In Faithful Relation To Each Other

As some kind of Christian most, if not all, of my life  I have always taken for granted – even if at times “taking” it also meant wanting to “leave” it – something called the church. The very title of this blog, i.e., “the church and postmodern culture”, assumes there is actually something “there” (a true Aristotelian todi ti) when we speak of the church. The crux of all theological venturing... Read More

Videos from “What is Christian Philosophy?” SCP/SCPT Conference

This March, the 2014 Midwest meeting of the Society of Christian Philosophers met together with the Society of Continental Philosophy and Theology at Trinity College in Palos Heights, IL. The theme of the joint conference was “What is Christian Philosophy?” and was chosen in honor of the 30th anniversary of the publication of Alvin Plantinga’s “Advice to Christian Philosophers.” The conference was a great success and... Read More

When the Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts

It has reached the status of a colloquialism to claim that sometimes “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Most Westerners today occasionally say or hear this phrase without giving it a second thought. But in fields such as metaphysics and the philosophy of science, the main idea that this phrase is suggesting is understood as tapping into a far deeper and more complex reality. My aim in this post is simply to suggest to the... Read More

On Conversation without Conversion: Reflections on Church Practice and Participation

Though I think a lot about church practice, I don’t write much on it. My writing, for better or worse, tends to be very intentionally philosophical and offered in the aim of inviting a broader readership into the technical debates of philosophy of religion. The one main exception to this general trajectory, though, is a piece I posted here at Church and Postmodernism a few years ago on what I termed the “hermeneutics of silence” that operate... Read More