In last night's mens' class, we wrestled with a wonderful topic: Being Christ in a Post-modern world. It is hard for us to see as we live through it, but a significant philosophical change has taken place in people's world view. Those of us 35 and older don't recognize it -- except as we view it in those who are younger. It is not the same as the age-old "generation gap." No, this is a "once-in-a-500 year" total change in the way people process their world.
Those of us 35 and older lived in the age known as "modernism." It is a philosophical age that begin in the 1500s. It brought Europe out of the Dark Ages and into the "age of enlightenment." One of the leading modernist philosophers was John Locke. His methods greatly influenced Alexander Campbell -- the premier leader of the American Restoration Movement, of which Churches of Christ are a part. Modernist philosophy was about reason and absolutes. And as a modernist reads that, we think, "Of course, because that is important to establishing truth."
But a postmodernist does not see things that way. He or she hear our reasoning and ask, "So what? What difference does it make?"
You will hear many people bashing postmodernism -- especially one who is strongly tied to modernism. Our hard drives are not programmed for their way of reasoning. Nor is theirs for ours.
So what can we expect? Good and bad. This can lead to more clashes between the generations -- unless we realize that we live in two different paradigms. It means some of the things that we modernists wanted to fuss and fight over will mean nothing to the postmodernist. In fact, it will probably drive him or her away. So we better have really good and compelling reasons for what we do.
On the positive side, postmodernists will probably be more about actually being Jesus in the world. A Jesus of social justice and concern for the disenfranchised. While a group of modernists might think being like Jesus means knowing and discussing God's Word (extremely important), the postmodernist will be more about embodying THE Word (also extremely important).
Ideally, I wish we could take the best of both worldview philosophies and put them together.