Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Postmodern Christian: Not an oposition of terms

I don't usually blog about faith. It's sticky, especially at this time in my life when I've been questioning pretty much everything I believe and rejecting a lot of trappings of the evangelical subculture I was raised in.

I'm finally reading Brian McLaren's book A New Kind of Christian. It was published about eight years ago, and since 2001, it seems the emerging church has become fuller, more vibrant. Or maybe it's just come to my attention.

But I'm not going to get into the emerging church. Not today. This book is more about the paradigm shift from modernism to postmodernism. I spent half of my education (pre-college) in Christian schools and heard a lot about the importance of "a Christian worldview." I was warned of the dangerous relativism that was seeping into our society. I was told to be careful in college, that I might be tempted intellectually to leave my faith. I was told greater culture was dangerous and our sequestered Christian subculture was safer and better.

Then I went to Berry, where the secular and evangelical worlds collide in odd ways. I wasn't tempted intellectually, but I came to realize after four years of a solid yet secular education that I am postmodern. I can't help it. Despite my upbringing, I am ingrained in my culture and have a postmodern point-of-view. Or worldview. Take your pick of vocabulary.

So the past three years have been a battle over the question, "How do I reconcile my postmodern worldview to my faith?" This has led to a lot of doubt, frustration, anger, and resentment. I'm not out of this yet. There's a lot I'm still figuring out, but I know now that I'm not going to pretend I have a nice, neat list of answers. I'm struggling, wrestling, and finally, I'm trying earnestly to seek the truth.

Interestingly, the name of my church is Vox Veniae, which means Voice of Truth in Latin. The truth may not come in a systematic theology. That worked for the modernist church, but I'm beyond that. I don't want a system. We're deconstructing right now, but still trying to maintain something holistic, spiritual, and beautiful. And there's truth in it. I have a sense deep inside of me that despite my rejection of what I considered to be Christian and therefore true, I'm finding the real truth. It hasn't come through Bible study. It hasn't come through mission work. It hasn't come through traditional worship. Yet, it is more true and natural and right than anything I had been told in my Christian schools or Bible camps.

McLaren's book tells the story of a burnt-out pastor's search for the truth and his reconciliation with his faith - all within the context or a paradigm shift to postmodernism This is not something to fear. Evangelicals are afraid of the emerging church and postmodernism because of the deconstruction of everything they know and believe. But God is bigger, so much bigger. And he/she is moving in the midst of this transition and I want to be a part of that movement.

1 comment:

Heather P said...

oh, gina, this post was great. thankyou for speaking your heart and sharing it with us. i feel so alone sometimes in my views, and its nice to know that you are here with me, thinking the same things.