Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Postmodernism...what does that even mean: a basic deconstruction

Postmodernism certainly seems to be the buzz word of the day lately. As a young adult, I have been to many presentations, workshops, etc on what people think postmodernism is. Speakers stand behind their podium and give their best attempt at defining postmodernity. However, the problem is, postmodernism cannot be defined. Postmodernism possesses nothing concrete that would classify as a distinction. The idea of postmodernity is completely abstract. It will not be caged by classification from the academy and historians, nor will the postmodern thought be formulized (no matter how hard one may try).
The truth is true postmodernists have no idea that they are such. They simply live. They live searching for tangible truth and something that they can wrap their minds and arms around. The postmodernist could not be anything less than true to themselves at their very core. They could never sell out to something they truly did not believe in with all of their being.
Premodernity was an era classified as just believing traditions that were handed down to you because that was what you believed. Not a whole lot of questions asked. If you were a Christian you took the Bible’s word for…or rather, you took the way tradition handed it to you word for it. Modernity was classified as the scientific age. Knowledge had certain criteria it had to meet before it was officially called knowledge. All knowledge had to be verifiable through the scientific method and truth had to be proved. Science quickly took center stage among the disciplines as theology sat on the back burner quickly evaporating. Now in the middle of what is called postmodernity, there is no such thing as truth whatsoever. There are no absolutes. It is all about what one experiences and their interpretation of the world.
All these things considered, as I take a look at my generation that has been classified with this peculiar term, I have come to the simple conclusion that we are no different than any other generation that has come before us. My generation does not have the patent on seeking truth for themselves and real relationships. They do not have the exclusive rights on desiring genuine experience. No matter what era you grew up in one way or another, we can all identify with this idea of postmodernity, essentially, searching through experience.
As simple as I have made this movement sound, it is nonetheless a movement labeled by the idea that there are no absolute truths. As Christians, this poses a “small” problem for us. How do we claim truth to someone who believes in no such thing as absolutes? There is a complete disconnect. What does a conversation like this even look like? How does one connect with a young postmodern of the 21st century?
Is it the word “postmodernism” that threatens or scares some of us? Do we lack the confidence to try and connect somehow to this thought pattern? The truth (no pun intended) is, if more of us had this thought pattern, our faith would be a lot stronger. People are not going to believe something just because they are told it should be so. They are going to go after it, test it and then if it proves true, they will own it with their lives! Furthermore, I have come to know God will always prove true to those who search for Him. Personally, I never want to simply adhere to a system of beliefs no matter what they are, Christian or not. I want to know it is truth for myself, out of my own experience. Experience is the very foundation of life for a true postmodern.
Postmodernity is not a just a passing fad for a mere generation. It is much bigger than that. It is the means for relationships and community and yes, I’m going to take it a step further: it is a means for finding God. It is nothing to be scared of, nor is it something to be ignorant of, nor is it something that we are not apart of in some way. After all, if we all looked deep inside of ourselves, most of us would identify with this way of filtering the world. After all, isn’t that what life is? Postmodern thought is simply a way of sifting through life, deciding what is real and what is not.


jolene said...

"I have come to know God will always prove true to those who search for Him..." I love this line! Great thoughts, girl! I am proud of you!

Amy Zellmer said...

Ok Maria, it's been 5 months, time to bug you to UPDATE!!!! I love reading your writing!!