Thanks to those of you who expressed an interest in this topic! We’ve taken up the subject of postmodernism and its takeover of our current cultural landscape. In my last blog posting, I shared with you a little of the history of modernism, from its birth during what is now generally referred to as the Enlightenment. We can’t understand postmodernism without understanding modernism. (So if you need to go back and read, please do.)
In his response to last week’s blog, Kent Buchanan made this observation: “Relativism is the prevailing foundation of thought today. It’s really built on … the idea that … my truth may be different than yours.” Well said. That’s the crazy soup we’re in, friends! Kent went on to explain how we’re drowning in a sea of personal experience, in which even the notion of any real truth gets lost.
Do me a favor and check out a really cool verse: First Chronicles 12:32.
In the early days of Israel’s monarchy, David is about to be crowned King of Israel. Saul is dead and the Benjamites have other ideas about the successor to the throne. But the other tribes are in favor of David as their king, and they meet in Hebron to turn the kingdom of Saul over to him. The political climate is very tense. Sound familiar? Two hundred leaders of the tribe of Issachar are described in this verse. The ESV uses the word “understanding,” and it’s from the Hebrew word binah – which communicates “to have insight” and “to act with prudence.” The sons of Issachar know how to analyze a situation carefully because they know what their times are all about!
That’s who you and I want to be for such a time as this. We need to understand where our culture is headed. We need to understand how to apply God’s Word to that cultural runaway train.
So let’s think about modernism for another moment or two. I made the point last time that modernism didn’t ultimately satisfy the human race. (Only God can satisfy, right?) But we may have jumped from the proverbial frying pan into the fire. When people were under the sway of modernism, at least they tried to govern themselves by reason, intelligence, and science. Those things are not God, but I think you might agree with me that they’re better channel markers than unchecked personal experience. The same thing can be said regarding a general respect for authority, a clear sense of right and wrong, and the ability to think (and reason) critically. I could offer other examples, of course, but each of these has fallen on hard times as we’ve tried to push away – both as a culture and as a society – any ultimate notion of “true truth.”
In American business, we often see a CEO under intense scrutiny and pressure whenever his or her company is not keeping pace with market trends. When Fiat Chrysler lags in sales, and when the CEO is unable to convince people that a turnaround is possible, the board demands a new CEO who can “git ‘er done.” (The Opryland Hotel used to have that phrase on their in-room phones. It marked the button to push when you needed help with something right now.)
How happy are the fans of a basketball-driven university when its team is losing routinely?
How excited are the hometown loyalists of a football-dominated city when its team’s performance is downright cruddy?
We see it in sports. We see it in business. We see it in education. And we see it in almost every other sphere of life. Every age of history has its unique opportunities. And every age of history has its unique challenges.
But we were made for opportunities and challenges.
This is ours.