Live to learn and you will learn to live. Portuguese proverb

Tags: community

Exploring the postmodern community

by Christoph Email

For my exploration of the functioning of the postmodern community, the internet is a natural place to look. I've begun to dive into different social networks on the internet, such as social bookmarking and tagging. Right now, I'm just beginning to try it out, but this blog post should already create some entries on and more »

The "right" community

by Christoph Email

So, in the postmodern world, truth is somehow defined by the community -- "local" truth, that is. This is a necessary step, because postmodern thinkers do not believe in the autonomous, thinking self anymore (does that sound like a contradiction, or what?). But then, who or what defines the community? It cannot be the sum of all its individual members, because they are undefinable, in a flux, ever-changing, nothing, really. The only thing that I can up with is that the community is somehow defined by a shared, local truth. But see, here we have a problem. The community defines the truth which defines the community. At the end, both community and truth become totally arbitrary, meaningless values. And we all succumb to the usual postmodern depression, fall into Derrida's abyss, or whatever ... But, wait! Maybe there's hope. There's one community -- yes, you guessed right: I am talking, as usual, about the Spirit-filled community -- which is not defined by a circular (non-)definition, but rather by an external standard. The Spirit which indwelles all of the believers is the defining factor of the community and the source of its truth (which, we claim, is more than just local). So this community is different. It is unique. Maybe it is the "right" one. Now, that sounds awfully exclusivist (and, therefore, oppressive). But, is it exclusive, when there are no other candidates to be excluded? more »

How can a meta-narrative not be oppressive?

by Christoph Email

I have already mentioned (in one of my replies to Brad Andersen) that I cannot but see the Christian story as a meta-narrative. Its claims to exclusivity, universality, and absolute truth are completely incompatible with the post-modern portrait of a "local story" within a community. Yet, I do think that the story of faith, i.e. the story of the Spirit-filled community, is able to escape the post-modern criticism against meta-narratives for a number of reasons. One of them has just re-surfaced in my reading of Anthony Thiselton's Interpreting God and the Postmodern Self: On Meaning, Manipulation and Promise: In chapter 3 ("Do All Controlling Models in Religion Serve Manipulative Purposes?") Thiselton refers to the New Testament, to Luther's "theology of the cross", to Bonhoeffer's writings and to Jürgen Moltmann in order to show that the Christian story is not promoting power and glory for its proponents. Criticism levelled against it from the days of Nietzsche through Heidegger, Foucault, and Rorty, has therefore no base: The Christian community is not seeking to promote itself above all other communities. Rather, it is seeking to promote Jesus Christ, the liberator, who sets people free from oppression. But, that's already another argument ... more »