Tuesday, March 30, 2004

The New Fundamentalism (?)

Almost a century ago, modern Fundamentalism began to develop into its present-day form after the "Modernist/Fundamentalist" controversy of the early 20th century. The "liberals" won the battle, and "fundamentalists" were discredited in the academic world, and made to look like idiots at the Scopes Monkey trial. Fundamentalists went on to become the "fightin' Fundies" who fought and debated and sentenced to hell anyone who deviated in the slightest from their view of, well, just about everything.

As time went on, the Fundies gave up fighting with the Liberals (although they would rant tirelessly about Liberals amongst themselves) and turned their guns on each other, endlessly writing scathing diatribes against any perceived (and the emphasis should be on perceived) deviation from the accepted party line, and went to the extremes of censoring people who even associated with people whose fundie credentials were under suspicion -- they called this "secondary separation" (you don't associate with infidels and you especially don't associate with those who associate with infidels). Billy Graham endured many scathing attacks from them for this reason.

What we know as Fundamentalism today is the result of people reacting against perceived enemies, and eventually degenerating into attacking their own colleagues who didn't "get it". End result: increasing irrelevance, except within their own small, closed circles.

Postmodernism, as a philosophical & theological construct, needs modernism. Without modernism to "deconstruct", postmodernism has nothing to say. It's just a reaction. It offers few, if any solutions. It deconstructs beautifully, even gleefully, modernity and its influence on churches, but doesn't reconstruct anything in its place.

It just critiques everything even remotely labelled "modernity". It's like a rebellious teenager trying to establish an identity by lashing out at anything his/her parents stand for.

Like the "fightin' fundies", postmodern Christian groups run the exact same risk of living in constant reaction against modernism, and as time goes on, they will turn their attacks on each other for not being "emergent" enough. Trouble is, they're just becoming more and more  isolated, ranting amongst themselves about the evils of modernity (and McChurch), but failing to provide anything proactive, positive, engaging, or attractive in its place (Philippians 4:8)

Or, as has happened with the whole Christian recording industry, and more recently the "worship industry" (what a miserable combination of words!), postmodernism will just become another marketing subgroup of greater Christendom. And like the fightin' Fundies, they run the risk of becoming just another splinter group that is irrelevant outside of their own small, closed -- but trendy -- echo chambers.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Re-Thinking Power

Here's a mind-bender from the Revelation of St. John the Divine, chapter 5:2-6 (The Message):

I also saw a powerful Angel, calling out in a voice like thunder, "Is there anyone who can open the scroll, who can break its seals?"

There was no one--no one in Heaven, no one on earth, no one from the underworld--able to break open the scroll and read it.

I wept and wept and wept that no one was found able to open the scroll, able to read it. One of the Elders said, "Don't weep. Look--the Lion from Tribe Judah, the Root of David's Tree, has conquered. He can open the scroll, can rip through the seven seals."

So I looked, and there, surrounded by Throne, Animals, and Elders, was a Lamb, slaughtered but standing tall.

What an amazing juxtaposition! One of the Elders tells John to look at the Lion, and what John actually sees is a slaughtered little sheep.

We picture Lion as strong, majestic, triumphant in power. Jesus, as the Lion of Judah, expressed His power as a slaughtered Lamb.

There's definitely a strong message to those who would like the be "leaders" in this passage, on what true "power" in ministry looks like.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Adventure In Advil

If I may be permitted a minor whine: I've just spent two days in a row having a collection of needles and drills focused on my head, at our friendly neighbourhood dentist's office. In the immortal words of Han Solo, after he was 'questioned' by Darth Vader in The Empire Strikes Back -- 'I feel terrible'.

I tried to comfort myself with a nice steaming cup o' coffee, but if you've ever tried to drink coffee with a frozen face, you know that it can't be done -- unless you count absorbing coffee through your t-shirt as "drinking".

We have two shows this weekend, too, starting tonight. Don't know how much singing I'll be doing... We have six gigs in the next nine days, plus recording a song for the Guess Who tribute album being recorded this month (a Celtic version of "Share The Land").

No problem!

Can Advil be administered intravenously?

Monday, March 1, 2004

Lent: I've Got An Idea...

One of the points of giving up something for Lent is to focus ourselves more on Jesus, and thereby, to nourish our souls towards more Christ-likeness. Wendy has our whole family entering the Vegetarian Matrix for Lent this year, but I think I'm going to add another element for myself:

I'm going to fast from blog-surfing. Not all blogs, just the more negative ones -- which unfortunately seem to be a growing majority.

Next Wave e-zine often re-posts entries from various blogsites (Ie. they republished my entry on Springsteen & prayer from a few weeks ago), and I found this gem there today, from Jason Evans (the post is from Feb. 24: "Beware, I'm ranting again..." -- this is only an excerpt):
"I long to hear stories of wonder and joy, of passion and love, of falling down and being picked back up. But please no more of the continual unhappy banter that seems to always be taking place... But we need to move forward in faith. Find some joy in finding our way into God's Story. I'm just getting tired of all the complaining... It's time to engage, to reconstruct, to believe and profess something holistically, to live abundantly."
Great words, Jason. You've hit my nail on the head.

P.S. For those fellow bloggers who visit this site, and wonder if I meant you, just assume I was talking about somebody else, and you'll be correct. I look forward to spending time with many of you in the New Jerusalem, because you've encouraged me in this present darkness already.