Like I said before, I want to go back and add some clarity to that response, which I will probably get to tomorrow. However, I would like to address a couple of things in your post. Of course postmodernity defines itself in opposition to modernity. PM is still in it's embrionic stages, and thus can only define itself in this way. Modernity was also a reaction to the medieval epistemology and was very had to nail down except in contrast to what came before in it's early stages. And, IMO, both PM and M cannot be embraced but must be engaged (yes, I believe that modernity must still be engaged too). If one buys either philosophy lock-stock-and-barrell, then tries to make Christianity fit it's mold, we are left with a pathetic excuse for the Gospel. Again, I know of no one who is seriously advocating this or being taken seriously when they do. The problem with this whole conversation (not just on this message board) is one of straw men, and a refusal to actually engage the real issuse at hand or even allow others to.
Also, you keep referring to the idea that the emerging church doesn't deal with sin. I would submit that it doesn't deal with sin in the same way that it was dealt with in modernity. Instead, EC seems to lean more towards encouraging people to live how they were created to live, which is not some arbitrary subjective "I'm ok you're ok" standard, but rather a life in harmony with God, each other, and creation. Sin, it is believed, can be traced back to the breaking of harmony in any of these areas (see Stanley Grenz's Theology for the Community of God). The church in modernity leaned more toward "you messed up and you are in trouble! Better make it right!" (and did so quite effectively). The EC leans more toward "Has anyone ever told you how this whole thing was supposed to work and how great it could be if it did? Has anyone ever told you how much it hurts, not just you, but God, others and creation when you take things in another direction? Did you know that Jesus is offering the best life (not just afterlife) possible? Did you know that you can partner with God in his dream for the world?" I find that it deals with sin quite thoroughly.
Thanks for the response.
I don't really know what you mean, or what your point is, when you say when you say that no one fully embraces Post-modernism. You'll have to expand on that for me as you have time.
If I suspect a problem with my car brakes, I cannot use the car and put off fixing the brakes -- I have to park the car until it's prove roadworthy. In the same way, if one is using Post-modernism in a Christian context, then one cannot simply excuse an idea's weaknesses by saying, "Post-modernism is in it's embryonic stages", and hope that the problems will be addressed later.
I did not say that Post-modernism doesn't "deal with" sin.
Rather, Post-modernism doesn't know how to define -- identify -- sin.
Nor do I see your contrast of Modern or Post-modern ability to "deal with" sin as significant.
Is one approach better than the other?
One can see elements of both in the Scriptural record, from gentleness to harshness -- neither is given clear preference by God.
For example, Peter is forgiven of denying Christ, only to become the instrument through which Ananias and Sapphira are struck down for the seemingly minor offense of lying.
Building a case on the basis of aesthetics is fallacious, IMO.
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to this.
First of all, when I say no one is seriously advocating that we fully embrace postmodernity:
a) I am referring to the prominant leaders in the emerging church movement. It is possible that you might find someone who self identifies as "emergent" who says that we should let postmodernity define Christianity, however I haven't run across them and this isn't being advocated by the leading voices.
b) by "embrace" I mean letting our Christianity become a slave to the dominant philosophy/epistemology (in our cast postmodernity). Embracing postmodernity (in my view) would be to hold postmodernity as the "higher truth" and letting it redefine Christianity. I certainly realize that this is exactly the criticism that many raise against EC, however I in my view it is most certainly not what is being advocated.
As for the Car and Brakes analogy, it just doesn't work for me. As I mentioned somewhere else, no one is trying to convert anyone to postmodernity. Postmodernity is a cultural and epistemological shift that is happening on its own. Some of us feel that we must engage it (much as Paul did on Mars Hill) as a matter of faithfulness to God, the Gospel and our Calling. This is not to say that those doing ministry and/or living lives of faith in a modern context are wrong, stupid or bad. Thank God that they are doing that. (this "Thank God for them" attitude seems to be prevelant among the leading voices in the EC movement). To use your analogy, though not as you intended, I think many of us would say that "fixing the brakes" is exactly what we are trying to do, though for us the car is the church (note: not Christinity or the Bible)
Also, I did sort of misquote you by implying that you said that PM coudn't "deal with sin". It was not my intention, and I apologize. After your correction though, you make this statement:
"Nor do I see your contrast of Modern or Post-modern ability to "deal with" sin as significant.
Is one approach better than the other?
One can see elements of both in the Scriptural record, from gentleness to harshness -- neither is given clear preference by God."
That is a brilliant observation, and may be our key to finding some common ground. Both are appropriate and both are Biblical. The key is knowing when and to whom one is apropriate. Put simply, one tends to communicate better in a modern context and the other tends to communicate better in a postmodern one. What the EC movement is trying to do is communicate the Gospel into a context that isn't being reached by traditional church structures, methodologies, and epistemology (though those traditional church structures, etc. most certainly still are effective in a large context and great things are being done for the kingdom through them).
Hope this adds at least a little clarity.