Modern | Postmodern / Christian | Post-Christian and other irrelevancies

Greenbelt was a great opportunity to just chat with lots of interesting people without much pressure on time… Well done to my mum (I kid you not) for suggesting the Organic Beer Tent to Greenbelt – it was the perfect venue for such discussions.

On one occasion I was talking to some of the Vaux people, when someone I had spent a summer camp about 8 years previously recognised me and came over. He was now the drummer in some speed metal band. This is a world I know nothing about, or, more accurately, knew very little about.

Then Ian from Moot came over; he had wanted to clarify some of my thoughts in the book before writing a critique which would be part of a dissertation. Vaux, speed metal, in-depth theological discussion… All in the space of a few inches of St Peter’s.

To get to the point, Ian and I were talking about the dualities of Postmodernity/Modernity, Christian/Post-Christian etc., and how they fitted into my thesis. A thought came to me during our chat, finally crystallized having been hazing around, unthought but present for a while, that there should only be one duality that carries real significance for us: pre-incarnation and post-incarnation.

It struck me that if we could actually fully comprehend the significance of this bifurcation in human history, then all these other dualities would be a secondary irrelevance. If we could truly live within the truth and implications of this extraordinary event: God becoming human, living, dying and exploding into an infectious vapour of the Spirit… then we would need little discussion about whether our programmes and structures were modern or postmodern or anything else, for we would be living and breathing incarnation; embedded and committed, as Christ was, inextricably intertwined with the cultures we were born into.

Perhaps all the other talk needs to stop for a while. Perhaps we need to try to spend less time worrying about the implications of postmodernity, and more time immersed in the implications of the incarnation. Perhaps.


4 responses to “Modern | Postmodern / Christian | Post-Christian and other irrelevancies”

  1. Kes,
    Pre or post incarnation. Doesn’t the fallout from certain positions still continue hurt us? Such Tags are empowering or disempowering according to how you use them. Modernist interpretations of Christianity have been incredibly destructive to marginalised communities.
    The beauty about a Post-modernity of resistance is it’s articulation of “Thirdspace” and attempt to move beyond binary oppositions. With all the implications for justice-making that this space entails. Any spirituality worth it’s salt has occupied this “Thirdspace”. Post-incarnation, our role as the body of Christ is to engage in these power struggles of language.
    What do you think?

  2. “Post-incarnation, our role as the body of Christ is to engage in these power struggles of language.”
    I’d agree with that. But the fact of the incarnation gives us a new place – I’m not sure if it could be described as a ‘third place’ – to embark on that engagement. Perhaps the notion of binary opposition is not the right way to describe pre and post incarnation… I’m wondering if it goes entirely beyond that, if only we could properly take it on board. The hurt has perhaps come where medidation on this radical new reality has played second fiddle to these other positions?

  3. Totally.
    “Thirdspace”, “Lived space”, “Heterotopia”… all these are attempts to go beyond (Meta) into a “radical new reality”. They’re multiple, simultaneous possibilities that leave dualistic thinking way behind.
    Beyond’s a great word here. In these worlds you can occupy both centre and periphery. Not one or the other. Real boundary stuff, just the stuff you like!

  4. Interesting enough. The experience with “Peanut Mobsby”, Speed metal and beer is totally Thirdspce too. A far more realistic articulation of the everyday.