I've spoken at times about postmodernism and how i fancy myself as part of this group. I'm reading a book right now that is really touching on some great themes and lays out our current context quite nicely. The book is Entertainment Theology: New-Edge Spirituality in a Digital Democracy by Barry Taylor.
Taylor is concerned with three interwoven ideas: (1) the implosion of modernity and the rise of the postmodern/postsecular, (2) the spiritual condition of popular culture that signifies a return to God, and (3) a vision for Christianity in this current milieu and for the future.
We have largely been living in a world where Christianity hasn't wielded the power it once did, churches are in decline, more and more people are biblically and theologically illiterate, and the rise of "Secularism" have been cried about by many-a theologian (both conservative and liberal). Taylor, on the other hand, sees this as a good thing! it's like the chinese saying "With great challenge comes great opportunity."
Taylor sees that the western culture has largely taken the modernist pill, thinking everything can be rationalized and explained. Max Weber wrote about the "disenchantment of the world" saying that magic and mystery had been driven from the world by the dominance of bueraucracy. These are "Specialists without spirit, sensualists without heart, this nullity imagines that it has attained a level of civilization never before achieved."
however, with the popularity of Harry Potter, Fight Club, The Celestine Prophecy, The Sixth Sense, Donnie Darko, and (my fav.) THE MATRIX shows that these have become the primary means of continuing the study of one's spiritual interested in the age of the democratization of the spirit. The Church has been left behind and the culture is fashioning its own form of spirituality and God-talk that Christianity must take seriously.
Rather than being cool, Christianity must be relevant, something i've been scream'n for a while on this blog. The main ways in which it can be so will be through an identity shift, a new typology for missional theology, and a new encoding of the Christian message, all of are in desperate need of imagination. The instillation of creativity from the pew and a higher rate of participation and congregational input.
Taylor writes, “The shift in times demands a new reiteration of the message, one that is a pertinent and timely iteration of the timeless Christ story for our cultural context.” Thankfully this iteration can come from both inside and outside the church as he asserts that “theology is no longer a specialized field to be left to those deemed qualified.” There is much encouragement for artists and lovers of art to get involved.
I'm totally into this book. Esp. how the new religious permutations "will lead to the emergence and advance of post-Newtonian chaotic-observer aware science." He also cites this Radiohead video as a metaphor for the reenchantment of the West, and i think this dude is right on!
LET'S GET CREATIVE AND CRAZY! LET'S GET RE-ENCHANTED WITH THE WORLD! WOOT!