Thursday, April 05, 2007


So my friend Tabs asked: "is this like a pomo anonymous meeting or something? and is there more to this question that we need to delve into?"

To that I say an emphatic: idunno!

A part of me feels like the pomo discussion is all played out (but I've been in grad school forcing people to discuss it with me for the last three years). Then I get a reminder that these ideas are making their way around and it's good to revisit them once in a while.

Maybe if we work really hard we can come up with some sort of result from postmodernity. Most of the "cutting edge" churchy-pomo people are done with the term "postmodern" because it has so much baggage (art, philosophy, architecture, The Simpsons) and because (as Ty, Tim, Matt, et al pointed out) it is really just negative and reactionary.

Do you ever feel like the Israelites in the wilderness? Sometimes I just want to go back to "Egypt" where things were simple and rational and easy. Most of the time I happy to be out of "slavery", but I'm impatient to get to the "promised land". Perhaps there is value in the "wilderness" through which we travel.


Mark said...

Great post! So true, so true. That is, if you believe in truth. :-)

Mick Wright said...

Wow, great finish there, James.

KMiV said...

Thats a funny comic. However, in our abuse work it seems that post-moderns are much more vocal about social justice and human trauma. They have a clearer right and wrong when it comes to that.

However, the modernists have turned their (our) heads to these issues. Just from my experience these areas were "relative truths" for earlier generations.

Maybe post-moderns have an ethical code, like all of us, but they focus on the things that the "greatest generataion" neglected.

James T Wood said...

Ron, I think the reason (at least one of them) that pomos care more about social justice is that mos don't/didn't. Since pomo is a reaction against the deficits of mo it would follow that the lack of social justice amongst mos would prompt a move for social justice by pomos.

The "moral relativism" of pomo is also a reaction against the (arogant) moral certitude of mos. You're right, there have always been "relative truths" - the pomo choices just irk the mos (like the mos irked the pomos into reacting against them).

So what is the point of this "wilderness"? Where do we go from here?

tabitha jane said...


i have always been a very strong vocal supporter of the happy middle ground.

sometimes it seems impossible to stop the polarization . . . but i'd like to happliy live in the balance that can exist in the middle.

as a pirate, of course. as this is why i said "yar."

Ryan Woods said...

First off, the term pomo makes me laugh. Second off I find that when I try to explain my understanding of it I go in circles in many ways. Third I'm very certain that I'm postmodern in very many ways. Fourth, I've lived in the ultra modern society my whole life, I've thrived in it, I've loved it, it's loved me, and yet when I look at the values held by postmoderns it gives me hope, it gets me excited, it makes me want to change as a person.

It may be that when I think/talk about postmodernity I don't think about the rejection of all truth and reactionary behavior. I'm sure thats all true in many ways. But isn't much of it valid? Didn't postmoderns grow up in a world where everybody had all the answers and yet still lacked substance? My understanding is that it's not a rejection of truth, it's a rejection of truth that doesn't work. Truth should work right? For example, in Jesus terms...if you have the answer (JC) and yet you still lack peace and hope, you're divorcing your spouse, and the world you live in is not expieriencing love and light then have you found the right answer? Maybe instead you've found an answer that has been perverted and no longer works. For the postmodern, in my understanding, truth must work. It's got to make a difference. With regards to the church it gets me totally jazzed because that means that instead of going out and making fliers about how Jesus is the way and Buddah is not I can go out and love people and show them how Jesus has changed my life. Then, after they've seen Jesus and want a piece, they can begin to discover him more, to learn about him, to gain more knowledge. I like that.
So where does postmodernism go from here? I imagine it could be somewhere along either depression or deep spirituality that works.

...I don't remember the question anymore. Everyone believes in truth, you can't get around it. But the difference is that for postmoderns you've got to choose that truth for yourself. We've made it a negative thing. We mockingly say "what works for you works for you" but the truth of that statement is that we all must choose for ourselves what we will believe and how we will live.
That doesn't sound too bad to me.

*I just want to say that much of this may be quite circular. And I obviously don't speak for postmoderns, only myself and those I've taked with.

Ryan Woods said...


tabitha jane said...

huzzah! and i second that yar rizzle.

another thought i had: know how i said that i think i am a brianmcclarentypepomo? well one of his overarching ideas is this:
maybe it isn't one or the other. maybe it isn't this spectrum where modern is on one side of the line and postmodern is on the other and you fall along the line somewhere with your degree of absolute truth versus social justic . . . instead maybe we should just throw that spectrum out the window and land somewhere else than on the line . . . maybe the line should be thrown in the trash and the *truth* can be found somewhere over here *:makes a motion with her hand in the air above the line rather than on it:*

i'll come back when i have more . . . savvy?

James T Wood said...

Tabs, the B-McLizzle-middizzle is a good place to be. Elton Trueblood, when once asked by Dr. John Savage what word he would use to summarize the practical meaning of the Christian life said, "And." Then he went on to explain, “The healthiest people are those who have learned to live in the ‘and’.” The "and" is the place between life and death, joy and pain, old and new. Just another way to say what you said (with your hand waving in the air and all). I hope that pomo will lead us to a place of more balance.

Ryan, you are totally a pomo-mcjomo, primarily because you don't make sense - it's ok for a pomo to not make sense as long as that works for them (insert Ty's sarcasm mark that I'm too lazy to look up). I think the problem with the pragmatic worldview of many pomos is that it can lack any foundation. Since what works changes from situation to situation, pomo feels pretty amorphous. I'm hoping that deeper reflection will lead to something with a more solid philosophical foundation.