In the classic work A Primer on Postmodernism, Stanley Grenz gives a concise yet remarkably thorough examination of postmodernism, including its history, philosophers, and how it is currently expressed in various aspects of culture. Grenz shows creativity in these descriptions, using the Star Trek metaphor to compare modernism and postmodernism. The original Star Trek represented modernism, with the crew of the USS Enterprise putting aside their differences to pursue their single-minded quest of going where no “man” had gone before. The modern ideal was epitomized by the passionless, rational Spock. The new Star Trek reflected the diversity of the postmodern generation, with a mission of going where no “one” had gone before. The machine Data who wants to experience the passions of humanity, the intuitive counselor Troi, and the enigmatic “Q” represent the new postmodern values.

Grenz examines many postmodern philosophers, but Freidrich Nietzsche deserves special attention. Nietzsche has been called the “patron saint of postmodern philosophy,” (p. 88) rejecting the Enlightenment concept that truth and knowledge could be discovered and objectively determined by all through reason and scientific investigation. Rather, truth and knowledge were illusions, with each person asserting his or her own perspective and asserting his or her “will to power” for personal advancement. This marked the “death of God,” or the appeal to a transcendent being for values and beliefs, and the beginning of increasing skepticism towards metanarratives. Meaning is fabricated through language, which people try to get others to accept in order to convert others to their point of view and further their personal agenda. Michael Foucault’s emphasis on knowledge and power, Jacques Derrida’s descontruction, and Richard Rorty’s pragmatism are all extensions of Nietzsche’s philosophies.

Sharing the gospel today requires understanding our postmodern culture. In a world that is skeptical of truth, knowledge, language, power, and personal agendas, we must build trust through honesty, openness, patience, and authenticity. Grenz is correct, however, in asserting that the metanarrative must be recovered, for this metanarrative is central to the Christian story. The metanarrative of God’s love and mission can provide shaping to those who have been tossed about by divorce, abuse, loneliness, nihilism, and other destructive elements of culture, providing hope for an open, diverse, but often skeptical and hopeless world. Grenz has analyzed these issues well and provided a way forward for the church to reach out to postmodern culture.

What do you think of Grenz's Star Trek analogy? What are your thougts on metanarratives?

Views: 1083

Reply to This

Latest Activity

Profile IconTom Barker and Phil VanDevander joined Missional Outreach Network for the Missional Church
Oct 17
Cameron Blair replied to Lynn S. Nored's discussion Do We Have or Should We Have Elders That Are Leaders? in the group Leadership and Vision
"Just to clarify, in my previous comment I was not implying that worldly success was of no value. It is very valuable, but while it can show wisdom in particular fields, it is not primary in showing spiritual wisdom and a willingness to love and care…"
Oct 16
Cameron Blair replied to Lynn S. Nored's discussion Do We Have or Should We Have Elders That Are Leaders? in the group Leadership and Vision
"I agree with you that there is a significant lack of qualified/trained elders/leaders. I have found there is a significant lack of those able to discern and lead well within church leadership, and often the theory of Scripture can be left as theory…"
Oct 15
Cameron Blair replied to James Nored's discussion Position Yourself for Leadership in the group Leadership and Vision
"Leadership is a funny subject. There are many different types and standards of leaders inside and outside the church. Sometimes it is not about who a person is as a leader but what another person as a follower is looking for in and for themselves…"
Oct 15


© 2016   Created by James Nored.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service


Live Video