Jesus Creed

Jamie KA Smith has a new, readable, useful book on postmodernity called Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?. I want to recommend as the best interface of evangelical concerns and traditional theology with postmodernism. It is not as saucy or philosophical as Caputo’s new book, but it is more theological and more aimed at evangelicals who are nervous about postmodernism.
Smith debunks three major mistakes being made by critics: that Derrida really means everything is only text (he means in fact “interpretation”); that Lyotard really meant death to all metanarratives (he meant death to the ability to prove them from an independent neutral base); and that Foucault meant that power is knowledge (well, he was close to this).
Two points: Smith argues that each of these scholars empower the witness of the Christian gospel. By undercutting modernity, they provide an opportunity for Christians to step in with a faith that is in search of understanding.
And, Smith contends (and I think he needs to make a better, clearer case for this) that postmodernism creates a need for Christianity to return to an ancient-future faith. His central thesis is that much of low-church evangelicalism reflects modernity with its exaggerated individualism and that tradition and ecclesiology flow naturally from the postmodern turn. Well, he’s got lots of good points and I hope you read this book too.

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