Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Now Add Nietzschke

Part of this postmodernism thing in the Christian Church is a renewed interest in 'changing the world'. We understand that God did not call us to live in holy huddles, but to take him to those who need him most (John Wesley's words!). Now this is something that I have observed myself and have taken to be in response to changes in our culture. Brian McLaren, in 'A Generous Orthodoxy', makes the point that we need to move from an emphasis on 'personal salvation' to an awareness of all creation. Unfortunately, he does it with such a chip-on-the-shoulder attitude that he irritates me and I've started asking questions about something I already believe. I mean, the Bible does emphasise personal salvation! But something is definately calling us to the broader world.
Last night I was reading Stephen Grenz on Postmodernism and he highlights the message of Nietzsche and his relevance to Postmodernism. Nietszche said that God is dead and that it is the time for the arrival of the superhuman or 'ubermensch'. I can see the logic of this progression. Pre-modern - God is in control, he does everything. Modern - it's all about science, we can see how it works, we can solve problems. Postmodern - actually science can't solve everything, but we're not sure that God makes sense anymore, it must be up to us to make things happen.
So we try to be superhuman. Fully human? And we need to look after the world, because if we don't nobody else is going to. We certainly don't expect God to do so. And after a couple of world wars and general world unrest, our expectation that God will pull things through is very low.
So our culture is telling us that we need to be doing stuff. And we find that actually the Bible agrees. But we also need to be careful of deriding people from previous generations or different cultures who find God's message and call to have different emphases.

For an interesting post on Nietzschke see Jeff Murray's Blog!


rebecca said...

to me I don't buy moving from a personal salvation because I believe this era has already done that we live in a Christian culture where the cart is ahead of the horse.


Jenny Hillebrand said...

What do you mean? I think a personal salvation is important . . .What are we moving too quickly on?

rebecca said...

too often I feel when people come to Christ or have a radical conversion they are instantly put in the spotlight or put to service. We have many immature Christians who are not prepared, healed, etc. To me this poses a huge question as to what the function of the church is

this can get long.

Unknown said...

In modernism we find a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation.

With postmodernism largely influenced by the disillusionment induced by World War II, postmodernism tends to refer to a cultural, intellectual, or artistic state lacking a clear central hierarchy or organizing principle and embodying extreme complexity, contradiction, ambiguity, diversity, and interconnectedness or interreferentiality.

In considering the need for a central hierarchy or organizing principle I would say that the Bible gives us a central and organizing principle to live by, sadly lacking if we consider wars and power hungry structures and people at work in a modern society as well as the 3rd World.

The answer I submit is to return to the basics of scripture.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

Hi Herman
I suppose the question is whether the need for an organising principle is Biblical, or whether it is a product of our culture. In many ways we need to make a choice between forcing an organising principle on people who want to follow Jesus or looking for other ways of showing and experiencing the centrality of the Bible. This is a journey of discovery which I am enjoying!

Unknown said...

In the end the question is:
How did we learn and what had the biggest influence on our life? And I believe that is true for most people. In my case a man called Allen Adam but even before that a direct touch from the Lord.
So we may debate but in the end we need to apply what we have learned from others but most important not to ignore the voice of God. Any many people do and yes they are spokn to. Only when we listen to His voice does the centrality of the Bible become real and the application thereof. It can never be forced. Example leads but Jesus speaks into a life.