Thursday, January 19, 2012

Can a Post-Modern be Christian?

Still mulling over Lamott's writing. She  intrigues me  because she is a post-modern and a self-proclaimed Christian. She personifies for me the "Almost Christian." I'm not making any judgements on her salvation, seriously, but her Christian-eese, spiritualityismishness gives me pause. And here's why.

She writes and thinks like a post-modern. She talks about the family that she and Sam and Sam's father have created. But the deal is that Sam's father wasn't even in the picture till Sam was mid-elementary, he doesn't live with them, they get together every so often. Family, by Webster's definition means a social unit living under one roof. So,what's a little simple daily living among friends- or family? Well, a lot. Living under one roof together requires sacrifice, attention to detail, consideration, working out conflict, putting up with each other's morning breathe and irritating habits and modifying our own behavior so that we don't end up suicidal or homicidal.

Getting together for week-ends requires very little of any of that. When there is no financial, little social, almost no interpersonal relationship beyond  a walk in the park, you've really become more of a social group, not family. And there in lies the re-definition. If family is whomever, however, wherever, whenever you want, with little pesonal responsibility or modification, consideration or integrity, than what makes it family vs. the people that you work with or simply sit next to on public transit? And in a liberalishness way, that's the point. We are all part of the family.

But in a Christianish way it's not. Christianishness is personal. Very personal. Very defined. Very exact. Very specific. Marriage becomes a crucible, a place of sanctification and can only really, truly happen between two people who give up their narcissism (thereby definition, ruling out homosexual union as marriage) to become more than they were, not less.  Raising kids becomes a participation in creation, not a despair filled hope to god for the best, we were too late for an abortion this time accident.

And more than anything the divine is transcendent. It's mystical and magical and all of that. I'm all for fairy tales and myths and magical. I love that stuff. I mean, seriously, the Brothers Grimm were probably my great, great, great 14th cousins twice removed. This is good stuff, because archetypes tell us about humanity and that's important. But look. Uncle Jesus sits off to the side, like your uncle and mine did. Kinda not participating, smiling benignly , maybe slipping you a $20 every now and then. King Jesus is front and center. Transcendent, all powerful, really big living space. Post -modernism re-defines truth and thinks it's created something better. Truth, as in big, "T" Truth can not be re-defined. It's there, solid and firm, regardless of how we consider or define it. And really, God, the divine, isn't about archetypal humanity. It's about something bigger than that. Something that transcends humanity.

Post-modernism is all about the re-definition, the non-definition, the anti-definition. The fairy tale magic that lasts about as long as the story and then disappears. Christ cannot be re-defined into something manageable and containable. It goes against His nature (using masculine pronoun here, different discussion). He, and God and the Spirit are not definable, except in small little ways, not containable, not manageable. They-HE- are the ultimate REAL.

By definition, which post-modernism fights against, I can not make logical sense of someone holding the post modernist view and Christianity in their heads and hearts at the same time unless one or the other, or both, or greatly compromised. What do you think?

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Lillian said...

On the definition of family, I truly believe Webster's definition needs to change. I'm not being post-modern here, I'm being realistic. My mom and dad divorced when I was 9, he was no less my father just because he was living under another roof. Which leads me to the next example, my daughter is married and living in another home, under another roof. She is still my daughter, thus my family. In fact I consider that my family has grown with the addition of my son-in-law. It will grow again when they begin to have children. And we will be family.

My beef with the post-modern is truth with a little t. The idea that "all truth [little t] is God's Truth" and truth is "your truth." While there is some merit in the "truth is your truth" statement, I believe the definition of that statement is more clearly understood when we look at 'your truth' as experience. (Example: we were both at Fuller because our husbands were at Fuller, but the lives we lived and experienced were different, therefore your 'truth/experience' about Fuller, is different than my 'truth/experience' about Fuller).

And finally, I have come to the decision that a person's salvation and how they work it out, is ultimately not mine to worry about. I pray for people who walk in ways I think might draw them from the Lord instead of to Him, I pray for people I disagree with, but ultimately their walk is their decision and thus the consequences of that walk rests solely in their hands. I do not wash my hands of any responsibility for discipling them, but their choice to follow my discipling efforts or not, is theirs. I am called to love them, pray for them, and rescue them if and when the time comes, but salvation and judgment are solely in God's hands.

Having looked up Anne Lamott, I think it would be good to read her books. I think it would help us get out of our bubble. I also think we need to be very certain of our own walk. The things I've read make me realize she could be quite persuasive to the novice believer.

By the way, I love fantasy and magical stories too!

Leanne said...

Um, I don't think that's postmodernism (sorry, came via 7 Quick Takes and am taking a look around) .. or perhaps what I consider post-modernism isn't. Anywho, post-modernism isn't redefining ... it's saying: ok, that truth? mightn't be as true as you thought it was OR is truer that you thought it was in this way ... and I pretty much end up with whatever we define as truth isn't the whole picture. Uncle Jesus, King Jesus -- isn't the whole picture. The Triune God is beyond our comprehension no matter how much we try to box God into something we can understand....