Ben and Jerry’s is one of the biggest ice cream conglomerates in the world. Most know Ben and Jerrys for their
plethora of flavors and creative interactive buffet of items to add to their ice cream. It’s like Disneyland for the
tastebuds. This corner shop enterprise is a great metaphor for what is going in global shift from postmodernism
A lot of people have been talking about the death of many things lately. The death of culture (my new book title), the death of church, the death of the emerging conversation and even the death of postmodernism. But, what will take its place and how will that effect how we see the world? react to our faith-traditions? and how can we use this information to transform things like debt down to zero?
Some anthropologists are using the term Pseumodernism to explain the new incoming cultural shift. Others refer to this as post-postmodernism. Postmodernism tends to be a knee-jerk reaction against modernism. In its origin, it was a reaction against modern architecture. The postmoderns believed that the way things were constructed weren’t indicative of the nature of the cultural shift that wasn’t as apparent to those who were just that much more savvy. And so out of postmodernism came the necessary question “What is reality?” and “Who gets to define reality?” Pseudomodernism takes that question a step further and actually gives reality a definition. It says that anything that can’t be interacted with isn’t real. Just because a book is written doesn’t make it a book, but when you interact with it that interaction makes it a book. A church service isn’t a church service unless we can interact with it.
Where in postmodernism reality was always hanging by a thin thread, pseudomodernism says that reality can only only be defined as an experience of the senses. This new cultural shift means we can no longer solely depend upon things like logic or debate to defend what we believe. In fact, there is no room for debate or defense in pseudomodernism. The generations that live through this awkward transition along with those who are born during its reign will come to see the world as one big cinematic experience.
The world, religion, discussion, the bible, Jesus and others in the mililieu will not get to ‘argue’ their case unless they can be interacted with. Interaction is the new reality. The name of the new game is a surrender to a neo-baccanalian sensory overload. For those who decide to stay modern or even postmodern will be shunned by these new virtual realists because those would choose to stay where they are don’t want to interact.
So. The gospel, which in Aramaic doesn’t mean ‘4-steps to peace with God’, it means only ‘hope’ has to become even more fluid. More engaging and less supported but structure and even theology. It is hope unfettered by the Jesus’s of our theology. It is hope that can be seen and felt. Hope that can be tasted and seen. It is hope on Crack! Churches can no longer survive on the assumption that only one person can share their thoughts on the divine. If this model continues, the Church will continue to decay as it has been. In terms of pseudomodernism the Church would have to completely alter their way of doing things and reframe their whole ethos and worldview to allow for more interactive opportunities driven by eye-candy. Theology as an educational pursuit might just cease to exist. In the world of pseudomodernism the new education answers the question ‘how can I experience things like God, truth, peace, love and grace in an explosion of sensory overload’.
For some this new reality might scare the crap out of them! But, this might be what we need to move us out of our pews and into the world like we were first invited to be. The more time we spend being the movement that the Church should always have been the closer we come to meeting people at the point of their need and bring hope. But, in the world of the pseudomodernists, it isn’t about bringing hope — its about being hope. Incarnating hope in such a way that people will see, believe, touch, smell and taste the divine reconciliation that has already happened and is offered to them.
so how does this nuance reshape how we see life? well, i think first and foremost, it gets all of us off the couch. it makes commercials about bloated babies less important, and heightens the importance of going and doing something about that bloated baby more imperative. in fact this worldview throws the couch out the window and burns any remnant of it in terms of global crises.
it also has the dichotomy and ability to create an apathetic culture who does and believes nothing except what is put before them. which is where a lot of the church is at already. and so, what it means for us is that we have to burn the couches now to allow for the movement then. and so for some those couches to burn means we have to not only reinvent things like doctrine or dogma or politics or dogmatic approaches to truth, it means we have to throw them away and start again.
now that is scary for most. i realize that and don’t want to minimize the stress of that reality. but what we must come to understand is that what we have is essentially not good enough. but its not for me to sit here and decide what is and what isn’t, this is why i write here, so all of us — humanity can work together to discover what are some good questions to ask to get the conversation going. so i hope you are you willing to journey with me as the days go by.