A New Creed, The United Church of Canada

We are not alone, we live in God’s world. We believe in God: who has created and is creating,

who has come in Jesus the Word made flesh, to reconcile and make new, who works in us and others by the Spirit.

We trust in God. We are called to be the Church: to celebrate God’s presence, to live with respect in Creation,

to love and serve others, to seek justice and resist evil, to proclaim Jesus, crucified and risen, our judge and our hope. In life, in death, in life beyond death, God is with us. We are not alone. Thanks be to God.

 

For a Healthy Ministry in A Church with Diversity

One of the factors we need to include in diagnosing reality : Postmodern thinking

 

Prepared by John Lee 

 

World changes and we live in a changing world. Our perception also changes and our ways of thinking and action has already changed. How much do we know of ourselves? And how much do we know the differences between generations, and how do we name them?

 

Communication is the means of link between the individuals within the community, and we begin this basically with demonstrating “who I am” and “who we are”. As part of our attempt to know who we are and who I am and to develop further strategy to build the dynamic community, analysis of the postmodern ways of thinking and phenomena is a crucial step to make.

 

It is not to evaluate the postmodern ways, but to recognize the changing ways of thinking and working that shifts the ways of communication. Once we understand and recognize what is there and who we are, each individual may utilize for each different needs in their own ways. What then is postmodernism and its phenomena?

 

Postmodernism is an idea that has been extremely controversial and difficult to define among scholars, intellectuals, and historians, as it connotes to many the hotly debated idea that the modern historical period has passed. Nevertheless, most agree that postmodern ideas have affected philosophy, art, critical theory, literature, architecture, design, interpretation of history, and culture since the late 20th century. The term defies easy definition, but generally comprises the following core ideals:

  • A continual skepticism towards the ideas and ideals of the modern era, especially the ideas of progress, objectivity, reason, certainty & personal identity, and grand narrative in general (see Counter-Enlightenment)
  • The belief that all communication is shaped by cultural bias, myth, metaphor, and political content.
  • The assertion that meaning and experience can only be created by the individual, and cannot be made objective by an author or narrator.
  • Parody, satire, self-reference, and wit.
  • Acceptance of a mass media dominated society in which there is no originality, but only copies of what has been done before.
  • Globalisation, a culturally pluralistic and profoundly interconnected global society lacking any single dominant center of political power, communication, or intellectual production. Instead, the world is moving towards decentralisation in all types of global processes.

 

There are multiple positions on the differences between postmodernity and postmodernism.

One position says that postmodernity is a condition or state of being, or is concerned with changes to institutions and conditions whereas postmodernism is an aesthetic, literary, political or social philosophy.

 

The term postmodernity is used in a number of ways. Most generally, postmodernity is the state or condition of being postmodern (i.e., after or in reaction to what is modern), particularly in reference to postmodern art and postmodern architecture. In philosophy and critical theory, postmodernity more specifically refers to the state or condition of society which is said to exist after modernity.

 

A related term is postmodernism, which refers to movements, philosophies or responses to the state of postmodernity, or in reaction to modernism. For some of its critics, "post modernism" is simply cynical belief, the dissolution of cause and effect, the absence of order. The purpose of understanding postmodernism is to search new ways of communication by analysing the "cultural and intellectual phenomena" rather than to study further on postmodernity that focuses on social and political outworkings in society.

 

Here are a few, partial and unordered, comments on postmodernism:

  • Postmodernism is the new philosophy for the skeptical.
  • Postmoderns are those people who have begun to doubt the authors who seemed to have all the answers, the authors who seem to have everything wrapped up with a complete story of how things are and how they should be.
  • There are many people who are postmodern today but don't know it.
  • The premoderns are the people who explain things with literal parables such as people who take the Bible literally. The moderns, in contrast, try to put all their beliefs in scientific sounding theories.
  • The postmoderns are more likely to take a non-literal but poetic approach to expressing themselves.
  • Postmoderns have different beliefs but they share a kind of humility about their beliefs.
  • Postmoderns treat their beliefs more like hunches than like faithful allegiances. They often describe themselves as "not-knowing" or "non-knowing".
  • Postmoderns take a professional stance without presenting themselves as experts.
  • Postmoderns offer help without presenting themselves as authorities.
  • Although there are no real common beliefs, however, there is a common style of talking that frequently emerges from this shared skepticism. One of them is “paralogical” conversation.
  • In paralogical conversations, people of quite diverse points of view, even modern or premodern points of view, find ways to talk together and make sense together.
  • Instead of talking past each other or down to each other, postmoderns learn from each other, or that's what they try to do.
  • We can find postmodernism manifesting itself everywhere in the western world where conversation is encouraged. Modernity was the culture of the book, but the book divides people into authors and readers. The authors and readers never meet each other. There is no conversation. Authors simply provide the ideas and readers simply drink them in.
  • In the postmodern culture, people are turning away from books and prefer conversational paralogy.
  • Postmoderns are tired of monologues. They want to talk with each other, or listen to others talk.

 

Contrast of Modern and Postmodern Thinking

 

Modern

Postmodern

Reasoning

From foundation upwards

Multiple factors of multiple levels of reasoning. Web-oriented.

Science

Universal Optimism

Realism of Limitations

Part/Whole

Parts compromise the whole

The whole is more than the parts

God

Acts by violating "natural" laws" or by "immanence" in everything that is

Top-Down causation

Language

Referential

Meaning in social context through usage

    Prepared by Shannon Weiss & Karla Wesley