This is a continuation from yesterday where we started looking at major themes in postmodernism. Tomorrow we’ll start looking at ministry implications within the postmodern context, mostly based on the items in the lists for the last two days.
These are the final four themes in the list that I would count as essential:
- Narrative and Meta-Narrative – Since it is basically an image
in word form, narrative is an increasingly important part of postmodern
communication. It is not just a collection of facts, but it is shows
the deeper meaning that is going on behind the scenes. All of life is
viewed as a story, with characters weaving in and out of each other’s
story as life progresses. The real value in narrative comes when the
postmodern can connect themselves to other narratives in the form of a
meta-narrative, or an overarching story that captures all of humanity.
This facilitates a meaningful awareness of self as well as community
bonds that span the individualistic tendencies of postmoderns.
and Discourse – For the postmodern, the journey is as important as the
destination (see narrative above). They don’t like closed doors and
absolutes. They want to be able to explore and question and teach as
they proceed through discovery of life. Because of this, they place a
high value on conversation and dialog. This will drive moderns crazy
because it seems like postmoderns can never come to a decision and move
forward. Postmoderns, however, feel left out and offended if they walk
into a meeting where someone says, "This is how it will be." In
addition, postmoderns seem to get a bit of a thrill out of the chasing
of the discussion. It seems the deeper the meaning that is wound in to
discussion and the longer the discussion lasts the more accomplished
the postmodern feels.
- Desire for Authenticity –
The awareness of the hidden side of an issue and a few decades of
ethical failure by leaders from all fields (church, government,
business) has led postmoderns to place a high prize on authenticity.
Authenticity is not something that is immediately evident, so the
postmodern requires time to process an issue or a person before
investing in it/them. This can make them seem like they have
difficulty committing. What they want is to see the deeper value, to
see what the reality behind the scenes is, and to make sure that they
feel like they can include this person/issue in their narrative before
jumping on board. This means that positional authority is out the
window, which absolutely drives modernists crazy. Modernist leaders
rule in a top down approach. Postmoderns look at the top and assume
the person has been unethical in order to get that position. Only
after having spent time watching and observing these leaders will the
postmodern begin to invest in them.
Involvement – This is a summary of many of the items that have been
discussed already. The postmodern is tired of seeing
compartmentalization among people. They see people act different ways
in different settings and it makes them sick. How much more
unauthentic can you get? Because of this, postmoderns want to take
whatever it is that they are a part of, ingest it, and make it part of
their whole lives. They want authenticity and want to be authentic.
Their quest for deeper meaning causes them to seek that meaning out in
their own lives. They seek careers that enrich their lives and stem
from their gifts. To take a career that doesn’t "fit" would be
So, what are your impressions? Do you have some that should be added to this list? Do you see yourself in any of these descriptions? Share your thoughts.