January 7, 2012 / The Church & Postmodern Culture
This Christmas season I had the privilege of attending a memorial service, a vigil in …
August 31, 2009
Current discussions in the church—from emergent “postmodern” congregations to mainline “missional” congregations—are increasingly grappling with philosophical and theoretical questions related to postmodernity. In fact, it could be argued that developments in postmodern theory (especially questions of “post-foundationalist” epistemologies) have contributed to the breakdown of former barriers between evangelical, mainline, and Catholic faith communities. Postliberalism—a related “effect” of postmodernism—has engendered a new, confessional ecumenism wherein we find non-denominational evangelical congregations, mainline Protest churches, and Catholic parishes all wrestling with the challenges of postmodernism and drawing on the culture of postmodernity as an opportunity for re-thinking the shape of our churches.
This context presents an exciting opportunity for contemporary philosophy and critical theory to “hit the ground,” so to speak, by allowing high-level work in postmodern theory to serve the church’s practice—including all of the kinds of congregations and communions noted above. As such, the goal of churchandpomo.org is to bring postmodern theory and contemporary theology into conversation with concrete faith and practice of the church. The posts and articles at churchandpomo.org will, from different angles and with different questions, undertake to answer questions such as: What does postmodern theory have to say about the shape of the church? How should concrete, in-the-pew and on-the-ground religious practices be impacted by postmodernism? What should the church look like in postmodernity? And how might the church understand and acts within contemporary society (politically, economically, symbolically, tangibly).
churchandpomo.org is ecumenical not only with respect to its ecclesial destinations, but also with respect to the facets of contemporary philosophy and theory that are represented. A wide variety of theoretical commitments will be included, ranging from deconstruction to Radical Orthodoxy, and including voices from Badiou to Žižek and the usual suspects in between (Nietzsche, Heidegger, Levinas, Derrida, Foucault, Irigaray, Rorty, and others). And insofar as postmodernism occasions a retrieval of ancient sources, these contemporary sources will be brought into dialogue with Augustine, Irenaeus, Aquinas, and other resources.
Posts on churchandpomo.org will range from brief “airing of ideas” and the “trying on” of particular theories or critical positions, to longer arguments or analyses soliciting critical responses from readers, all with an eye toward the actual issues confronting church pastors and leaders, rather than the merely academic hair-splitting of abstract issues.
Geoffrey Holsclaw is a co-pastor at Life on the Vine (www.lifeonthevine.org) and a PhD candidate in theology and society at Marquette University. He is an editor for the Church and Postmodern Culture (http://churchandpomo.typepad.com/) and writes at geoffreyholsclaw.net.