12.09.2004

Careening the edge...

Tonight I shall write extemporaneously on some thoughts, troubles, and issues that have been brewing in my head for the past couple of weeks. Perhaps even the past couple of months or even years, I'm not sure yet.

My friend Gabe loves postmodernism, or at least likes to talk about it a lot. I've been somewhat leery of the concept until I recently read The Younger Evangelicals and after a visit to B&N tonight and reading a few chapters of Brian McLaren's book, A New Kind of Christian, I've started to believe that it's more then just a buzzword.

The problem lies in that I now seem to be on the brink of something, but I'm not sure exactly what. Perhaps a lot of post-modern philosophers feel the same way. But in my mind I feel uncomfortable with the world and church that I'm presently a part of. Being a right-wing conservative Republican fundamentalist no longer brings the joy that it did just over a month ago. Nor does the idea of being a leftist liberal Democrat sound attractive. So where to fit in? Truth be known - I don't.

So I find myself careening on the edge. Not really wanting to throw off my modern philosophy cloak and wrap myself in the blanket of post-modernism, yet feeling somewhat seduced by the idea all the same. Sometimes I worry about liking things because they are different, new, original and somewhat renegade. That is not my goal with this exploration at all. The goal is always, and should always be, the truth. Where I go from here, your guess is as good as mine...

3 comments:

Peter Rice said...

Blake, you say you aren't satisfied with right-wing, Republican, conservative, fundamentalism and that on the other hand, being a flaming liberal doesn't seem like the mark either--I say, "Good." Your words sound to me like those of a man who is well on his way toward something better than either of these options--i.e. the Truth you so much want to find.

Now, unlike Gabe, I don't particularly fancy the term "postmodernism." It seems to me it has a load of baggage no mere word or even concept can successfully bear. But I do think some of the writers of some of the streams of what is generally called "postmodernism" have some of the answers some of the time--and I'm glad to meet them when they do. One of the key things I see in postmodernism is the idea that as human beings we have such a limited, biased vantage point, we cannot come very close to knowing Truth--so much so, indeed, that to some Truth may not even exist at all (it's the pipe dream of Modernism, if you will). I think this realization has with it some measure of Truth, probably much more than the "Modern" belief that we humans can essentially come to perfect knowledge of Truth by cleverly and thoroughgoingly hacking away with the infallible sword of Reason. But that core of truth--that we operate from a limited, corruptible perspective--is of course often wrapped in layer upon layer of falsehood. Or sometimes it is stated and elaborated upon with nothing more than the simple--but fatal--omission of a single fact: That we have not been left alone. What I utterly disagree with is the notion that human beings are stranded on this planet, all alone, unaided, uncared for by Something--actually, Someone--who is transcendent. I believe there is such a Being and that, in fact, that Being transcendents everything so much that He is the Reality behind the reality that so often captivates our attention. And I do not believe He has or will ever leave us alone. Despite some of our race's best efforts (and sometimes our own), we cannot rid ourselves of Him. He always, incessantly makes contact--through his messengers and their recorded words (revelation) and through the Spirit which somehow dwells, though not overbearingly so, within His people. And I think that is the fundamental thing in all of it--our God, the Unmoved Mover, the Creator of this reality, and the One who dwells in the Reality that is underneath and behind and above and surrounding everything we can now see--and even most of our "deepest thoughts"--this God, this King, has come to us and comes to us anew every moment we let Him, and draws us toward the Truth. Unaided, humans are no better than blind. With the grace and help of God--which overflows so much it often reaches even those who most fervently despise it--we can learn and know and see a great many things. But what is most important and that which we can see most clearly--is Him.

I suppose my purpose in writing all of this is mainly twofold: To help refine and in a few instances reshape the truths I have held and believed for many years (long before I had understanding enough to even attempt to tackle these kinds of thoughts, or even to know they existed); and hopefully to state some of the truths that are Truth indeed and in doing so help a brother making the odyssey in search of Truth. I know I may fail at the latter aim simply from choice of words--if so, I'm sorry. I hope I have to some degree--even the smallest!--brought greater clarity than I may have stirred up a greater cloud of dust.

Lastly: I don't say any of this as a person who has "been down that road," as though I long ago strolled up to the front porch of glorious Truth, rang its doorbell, and have been sitting comfortably by the fire all this time. I say this as a fellow traveler, who is now and is always desperately in need of company on the road and who is greatful to have friends who see the importance and significance of the journey--and the courage to keep pacing forward. Thanks for making me think!

God bless, Blake! I hope to see you in a couple of weeks!

Gabe said...

Hey dude, good you to see you earlier tonight.

It sounds like from this post you are going through a deconstructing phase, which is good, I will pray for that. Eventually, you'll get to reconstructing phase and things will be more lucid.

Life's a journey man, glad we're on it together.
Gp

ann said...

Jesus says "Seek and you will find," and I honestly believe you are seeking God's will for your life and Truth for our world today. So may God bless your search. I agree with what Gabe and Peter said-- I am glad we're all searching together. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts about this. And I look forward to seeing you soon. :)