Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Other Ways to Refuse the Postmodern World

1. Attend local live concerts.
2. Go to a local museum.
3. Treat your checker at the supermarket like a real human being.
4. Don't worry about fashion in clothes.
5. Drive your car into the ground before getting another one.
6. Give a significant amount of your money to Kingdom causes.
7. Read books that are over your head.
8. Listen to music you don't understand until you do.
9. Memorize parts of the Bible.
10. Read about Christians from other counties, such as Brother Yun from China.
11. Object when your church wants to spend thousands on a food court (or the equivalent), but won't use that money for missions.
12. Do not interrupt others when they are speaking.
13. Turn off as many TVs as possible.
14. Don't say, "I'll pray for you" unless you will.
15. Listen to what people from other countries have to say about America and about their own countries.
16. Care more about your soul than your lawn.
17. Speak in complete sentences.

28 comments:

pgepps said...

I really don't see how "postmodern" is being played, here, but if you're just offering some tips for living counterculturally, well....

Living around students, I gotta say, number 1 is pretty obviously the dominant culture. Not sure how the coffee-shop set is going to find that a refusal.

5 & 6 are great, and correlative. I hate to see these things (and 9) reduced to "statements" by the title of this post, though.

13 is good. :-)

and number 14 is one I've been trying to counter by...

*** 18. Pray for other people in their presence, while you're talking.

Daniel said...

I am definitely doing number 5! And then I would add: When your car is driven to the ground, buy a used (not brand new) car that is reliable, affordable and gets excellent fuel economy. That also doesn't have a TV or Xbox in it.

Doug Groothuis said...

Pomo here simply means "contemporary"--set of social conditions.

Bill said...

How about exercise?

Fletcher said...

Eat healthy food that doesn't have preservatives or marketing behind it getting it into your house. Old school food, like raw vegetables and fresh fruit, or fresh fish.

And yes, exercise on a regular basis, even to the point of actual perspiration, daily! No personal trainer, no special expensive gear needed. Just work!

Robert Velarde said...

Read a lesser known work by C.S. Lewis such as An Experiment in Criticism or Present Concerns.

James Gordon said...

Isn't your redefining of "postmodern" here actually a postmodern tendency?

The Rich Factor said...

Point out that Barack Hussein Obama isn't the Messiah. Point out that Barack Hussein Obama is a sinner. Point out that Barack Hussein Obama is a socialist. Point out that Barack Hussein Obama supports infantcide.

In other words, defend ABSOLUTE Truth.

Aaron Snell said...

Oh, let's go for the gusto:

19. Become Amish.

James said...

How about this one:

Go to Starbucks and just order a regular coffee.

OR,

Boycott Starbucks.

James said...

I just thought of another one:

If you preach, do so from behind a pulpit rather than from atop a barstool.

Yossman said...

Turn off radio and tv commercials all the time and at all cost.

Kyl Schalk said...

You have some great things in there, Dr. Groothuis!!

Doug Groothuis said...

Gordon:

There is no redefining! I am using postmodern in the sense of postmodernity: a set of social conditions. This is standard. The word has a semantic range, for heaven's sake!

James Gordon said...

Yes, it has a semantic range, but none of the points you mentioned are intrinsically tied to anything involved with the set of social conditions surrounding postmodernity.

pgepps said...

It's not my favorite use of the word, but Dr. Groothuis is certainly right that his usage is not a "redefinition" per se. I see no reason not to take it as it is.

My initial questioning of the usage, here, was on grounds that a quintessentially "postmodern" thinker would be trying to critique, presumably with an eye to its malaise, the "postmodern" social conditions here described. And many an evangelical would use the common term "postmodern" to attack them both, with absurd consequences.

We may disagree with a critic's "take" on a set of social conditions, but under at least some circumstances such thinkers are diagnostically useful in other ways than as symptoms.

I prefer we avoid using terms we can readily see are confusing the issue--as the usage of "postmodern" in most evangelical contexts certainly is.

Heath Countryman said...

James,

So do you think if Jesus were alive today, would he be preaching behind a pulpit or on a bar stool? Or maybe even at the bar?

Nevermind... I can probably guess your thoughts...

For the record, I always preach from behind the pulpit....

Doug Groothuis said...

Jesus is alive today!
He is risen. Hallalulah.

Doug Groothuis said...

I am using postmodern(ity) as indicating the set of social conditions today. Of course, there is significant overlap with modernity.

James Gordon said...

Heath,

I see no significance whatsoever to your question. Whether Jesus was on a barstool or behind a pulpit, he was preaching. However, for the record, I picture him at a cultural gathering spot, much like the well, where the prostitutes and sinners were. Those who are healthy don't need a doctor. Is it possible that your pulpit is perpetuating the disease? Let's stick to the Bible, not a dismissal of cultural timely methods for communicating timeless truth.

Honestly, do you think your preaching behind a pulpit earns you any merit whatsoever? I think the pulpit is for men who have things to hide, unwilling to expose themselves to the watchful gaze of a people desperate for instruction.

Doug,

Why then use a loaded term such as "postmodernity" to simply communicate a set of social conditions. I think the way you set up this post evokes the idea that we are somehow in a war against culture and, specifically, postmodernism. This could not further from the truth.

pgepps said...

I was very happy at the "Jesus is alive!" part of this conversation. Let's rewrite my previous sentence to omit the unnecessary:

Jesus is alive!

Falling off the Grid said...

pgepps, why you gotta be such a downer? I think you take things like this a little too seriously.

Linda said...

I understand "postmodern" as meaning: anti-metanarrative, anti-logos, anti-God, anti-truth, anti-conformity, anti-capitalism, anti-humanism, anti-harmony, anti-order, anti-beauty and ethically relativistic. Am I incorrect? In what ways do your comments relate to opposing the postmodern?

Ruth said...

no.15 -- unfortunately there are not that many Americans really interested to hear or even ask what is going on outside America.

James said...

I thought the point of this post was to come up with ideas for bucking cultural trends, without making universal judgments as to the rightness or wrongness of the activities per se. Of course I don't believe it is inherently wrong to preach on a barstool. All I was saying is that it is becoming more and more counter-cultural to preach behind a pulpit. For the downsides of pulpit preaching that have been mentioned, I see some downsides of the more casual style of preaching as well. There is more of an attitude of "I'm your buddy" in popular preaching, rather than "I'm your preacher." And with a more casual style, it is harder to convict people and condemn sin. It has its benefits, but I do not see the warrant for rejecting pulpit preaching. That's all I was trying to say.

pgepps said...

@falling--I fell off a slide in 1st grade, straight on my head. Made me a downer.

@linda--stacking that many "anti" modifiers in a row suggests that you've kinda missed the boat. Dr. Groothuis indicated he just means "contemporary," so the set of social conditions--if you will, the milieu in which some of the ideas you mention seem likely to be found, whether as expressions or as criticisms or as descriptions of those conditions....

FWIW, when Lyotard announced the death of metanarrative he wasn't saying metanarratives were bad as such--just that they had lost their charms. And most people miss that he was referring to Marxism.....

pgepps said...

19. Avoid habitual overuse of ellipsis....

david said...

I thought this article would be of interest to you:

http://www.albertmohler.com/blog_read.php?id=2861

"A new report indicates that the average child in America now spends 45 hours a week immersed in the media -- a multiple of the hours spent with parents or in the classroom."