Mediation, and Spirituality in
the Postmodern Context
Joshva
Session 8
Main themes
• Worship
• Spirituality
• Image, Intimacy and Global Awareness
• Implicit Religion
Resources
• Peter Stephenson Christian Mission in the Postmodern World,
Some Introductory Thoughts. 2001
http://www.postmi...
Spirituality in a Postmodern Age
• Faith and Praxis in a postmodern age by
Ursula King pp.98-112
• Spirituality represents...
spirituality
• Modernity and loss of spirituality or private
mode of religious expression
• Spiritualitas – celebration of...
Postmodern Spirituality
• Dialectic between the spirit within us and the
spirit beyond us – Ultimate Reality by reimaging
...
Mystic Spirituality
• Mysticism after Modernity, Don Cupitt
• Internalising God within the self
• Dissolving oneself into ...
Postmodern Mission through worship,
spiritual encounter and implicit
experiences
• Peter Stephenson’s article
• A Suspicio...
Christian Mission
• Distrust of Authority and institutions
- Live for Today (too materialistic – having
life and having it...
Mclaren
• Brian McLaren in The Church on the Other
Side said, .If you have a new world, you
need a new church. You have a ...
Postmodern Values and Worship
• Experience - Postmodern worship gatherings
are holistic experiences.
• Participation - A w...
Postmodern Values and Worship
contd..
• Image Richness - These gatherings make use
of imagery in a way not valued by moder...
• Holistic Approach to Scripture - Kimball
describes preaching as an invitation to take part
in the story of scripture. Th...
Hyper-reality
• At it simplest level Baudrillard suggests
that in our image saturated world images
(of TV, cinema, interne...
Hyper?
• the person who spends hours making
amazing iMovie recordings and shows of
his life and family, whilst in the ‘rea...
Simulations of Reality
• The representation of something, anything is not seen as
a way to connect to the reality behind i...
Simulations make reality
• Yet whilst simulations are separated from
reference to reality, they become my reality. For
ins...
Lifestyle attached with things!
• Baudrillard asks if we ever buy something
because of what it does and not because it is
...
Hyper-real Church:
•
How much of the emerging church discussion,
movement is caught up with hyper-real images of
church. W...
Fetish Church
• By more re-branding, more image management. We call
ourselves missionaries in a post Christian context, we...
Pastiche & Nostlagia Church
• Pastiche church is the temptation to take the
aesthetics of other church traditions, of thos...
Critique of the above suggestions
• 1. Tendencies: Abstract into Real: recognise that every-time we
re-imagine church we a...
Postmodern construction of
Spirituality
• Temporary Communal Allegiances
• People still seek community but with minimal
hi...
Consumer Identity
• Postmodern religious construction occurs in a
consumer context because capitalism has provided
the buy...
Human Interest Story
• Spirituality can be seen as an aspect of the
autonomous subject where religious expression
becomes ...
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  • Fetish –Obsession or crazy church
  • Nostalgia – Longing
    Pastiche – imitation or appropriateness
  • 8 mediation, and spirituality in the postmodern context

    1. 1. Mediation, and Spirituality in the Postmodern Context Joshva Session 8
    2. 2. Main themes • Worship • Spirituality • Image, Intimacy and Global Awareness • Implicit Religion
    3. 3. Resources • Peter Stephenson Christian Mission in the Postmodern World, Some Introductory Thoughts. 2001 http://www.postmission.com/articles/pomisgen.pdf • RANDY ROWLAND AND SALLY MORGENTHALER, A MISSIONAL INCARNATION OF CHRISTIAN WORSHIP IN POSTMODERNITY. http://ekhardt.com/fresno.dome/pm723paper.pdf • Roger Lundin The Culture of Interpretation: Christian Faith and the Postmodern World. 1993. • James W. Fowler, Faithful Change: The Personal and Public Challenges of Postmodern Life. 1997 • Rowan Williams Lost Icons: Reflections on Cultural Bereavement. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2000. • Ursula King (Editor) Faith and Praxis in a Postmodern Age. 1998 • Don Cupitt Mysticism After Modernity. Oxford: Blackwell 1998.
    4. 4. Spirituality in a Postmodern Age • Faith and Praxis in a postmodern age by Ursula King pp.98-112 • Spirituality represents the move of phenomenological studies of religion into a new key stressing subjectivities and experience as over against dispassionate objectivity, the soul rather than the form of religion. Spirituality is a hidden dimension in a largely materialistic world
    5. 5. spirituality • Modernity and loss of spirituality or private mode of religious expression • Spiritualitas – celebration of the Christian mysteries particularly eucharist • Spirituality is described as an attempt to grow in sensitivity, to self, to others, to non-human creation and to God, or as an exploration into what is involved in becoming human (U King)
    6. 6. Postmodern Spirituality • Dialectic between the spirit within us and the spirit beyond us – Ultimate Reality by reimaging and renaming • Samuel Rayan – three models of spirituality 1. distributive spirituality where some follow a spiritual life while others do not 2. alternative model where the same persons alternative their activities between spiritual practices and other engagements 3. Interpenetrative model where we all are spiritually engaged in all our actions so that actions and contemplation are integrally connected.
    7. 7. Mystic Spirituality • Mysticism after Modernity, Don Cupitt • Internalising God within the self • Dissolving oneself into God • Spiritual marriage • Mystics play games with language and are aware of the enemies who tend to seize upon a careless word
    8. 8. Postmodern Mission through worship, spiritual encounter and implicit experiences • Peter Stephenson’s article • A Suspicion of all Big stories – Response – Come clean with the church’s past (Ian Paisley evangelical? Adams liberationist?) - Examine ourselves for oppressive tendencies (respecting rights of all?) - Search ourselves for signs of syncretism (uncritical of new technologies?)
    9. 9. Christian Mission • Distrust of Authority and institutions - Live for Today (too materialistic – having life and having it to the full) • Global awareness – ecological destruction; human rights, destruction of ethnic cultures, racial and religious intolerance; sexual discrimination, abuse of animals • Longing for intimacy
    10. 10. Mclaren • Brian McLaren in The Church on the Other Side said, .If you have a new world, you need a new church. You have a new world..32 If we desire to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we must become an incarnation of the body of Christ engaging our postmodern culture.
    11. 11. Postmodern Values and Worship • Experience - Postmodern worship gatherings are holistic experiences. • Participation - A worship participant in an emerging worship gathering can expect opportunities to participate personally in the experience, whether that be in dialogue, or movement around the room to stations of activity, or moments of quiet for personal meditation. • Dan Kimball, Emerging Worship: Creating New Worship Gatherings for Emerging Generations (El Cajon, CAGrand Rapids, MI: EmergentYS;Zondervan, 2004),
    12. 12. Postmodern Values and Worship contd.. • Image Richness - These gatherings make use of imagery in a way not valued by modern churches. Art is often used as means of expression, rather than an illustration. Art is used as a doorway to understanding scripture. • Connectedness – Kimball promotes a house church structure, in which most worship gatherings would be smaller intimate events. Monthly, all of the churches would gather for larger worship experiences.
    13. 13. • Holistic Approach to Scripture - Kimball describes preaching as an invitation to take part in the story of scripture. There is a renewed appreciation for mystery. Sermons are more likely to provoke thought and leave questions than provide simplified answers. • Organic Organization - Emerging worship gatherings, while ordered and planned, tend not to follow a rigid, linear, predictable formula. A sermon, for instance, may come in separate pieces interwoven with other interactions with scripture in any particular gather time.
    14. 14. Hyper-reality • At it simplest level Baudrillard suggests that in our image saturated world images (of TV, cinema, internet, computer games, mobile phones, CCTV, Web Cams, digital cameras etc), representation has saturated reality so much that experience takes place a distance from the things we are viewing. J K Smith http://churchandpomo.typepad.com/
    15. 15. Hyper? • the person who spends hours making amazing iMovie recordings and shows of his life and family, whilst in the ‘real’ world his marriage isn’t great and his spiritual life needs attending to. The computer-edited version of the world is more ‘real’ than the real world. • Baudrillard calls this experience ‘hyper- reality’.
    16. 16. Simulations of Reality • The representation of something, anything is not seen as a way to connect to the reality behind it, rather it becomes a reality in itself. Again in other words we become obsessed with the image itself, how cool it is, rather than the truth of what it is about. So we pay large sums of money not for trainers that are the best for running, but for the experience of the image attached to the trainers, which has little to do with running at all. • This causes us to be focused on the intensity of am image rather any need for real meaning, depth is replaced with surface, and the ‘phantasm of authenticity which always ends up just short of reality’ (The Revenge of the Crystal, 1990).
    17. 17. Simulations make reality • Yet whilst simulations are separated from reference to reality, they become my reality. For instance movies make me cry and connect to ‘real’ feelings, a beer advert makes me thirsty, watching the Asian Tsunami on the news shakes my faith. There is an implosion of surface simulation into reality. Images don’t just shape reality, they have become the thing that preceded reality! They absorb, shape, consume, and produce what we see as reality.
    18. 18. Lifestyle attached with things! • Baudrillard asks if we ever buy something because of what it does and not because it is attached to a style, or lifestyle? Are we really more than the fulfillment of images of an aesthetic and image of reality. • If I buy tools for the car, are they the best or do I buy into the colours and shiny adverts they show them as a the tool for the cool tool guy. Does my computer work better or does it make me feel like part of the ‘cool’ that goes with using it (apple any one?). All our food seems attached to a style, ‘Aunt Bessie’s’ yorkshire puddings, Tesco’s ‘Finest’ etc.
    19. 19. Hyper-real Church: • How much of the emerging church discussion, movement is caught up with hyper-real images of church. We’d rather blog, podcast, write about the image of a better and more authentic church than actually be involved in ‘real’ church. Emerging church can function as the pastiche, edited iMovie of church, that has not correlation to reality. • We are trapped in trying to incarnate church to our culture, by the pursuit of the superficial and hyper-real. What if real church doesn’t look like the idealized images we are endlessly portraying about church.
    20. 20. Fetish Church • By more re-branding, more image management. We call ourselves missionaries in a post Christian context, we buy the missional church books, we postulate the new and even more ‘real’ church, and avoid the reality of doing and being church even more. The aesthetic of church becomes the message. The space of engagement with the aesthetics of our culture, become pastiche fetishes, that end up being consumed, and we eventually leave them for something more real. We become the very thing that we despise and pathologically move on to a new fake hopeful and yet even more artificial constriction of church.
    21. 21. Pastiche & Nostlagia Church • Pastiche church is the temptation to take the aesthetics of other church traditions, of those of our culture, and to patch them together in a superficial manner. In other words we use images at random, project them over some music and see it as an experience, or we make aesthetical art spaces, that degenerate into consumer therapy, self justified with the user experience, as ‘authentic’. Our worship experiences becomig self authenticating.
    22. 22. Critique of the above suggestions • 1. Tendencies: Abstract into Real: recognise that every-time we re-imagine church we are in the west a people who will struggle to translate that into any reality, and are bent, distorted towards finding the re-imagining to be real itself. Maybe this is the ‘sin’ (inherent missing the mark) of our current culture. • 2. Trapped in Consumption: And at the heart of our bent towards the hyper-real, and fetish of church, is our entrenchment in capitalism and the market place. We need to really understand how capitalism has captured our understanding of what it means to be real, and find some ways out of it into non-commodified forms of church, to find the spaces between the doing of church and the consumption of church that will enable a liberating and ‘real’ change. 3. Evaluate our Ecclesiologies: Then use that understanding of our tendencies and the snares of consumerism to assess our current and suggested future forms of church.
    23. 23. Postmodern construction of Spirituality • Temporary Communal Allegiances • People still seek community but with minimal hindrances to commitment beyond one's comfort zones. The notion of voluntary association has become dominant with increased mobility and the emergence of multiple and overlapping communal allegiances. • Communal allegiances in the postmodernist perspective offer liberation from constraint enabling a new impetus to explore diverse religious expressions and worldviews. This works simultaneously at global and local levels • http://www.vcce.org.au/pdfs/indic_pomo_paper.pdf
    24. 24. Consumer Identity • Postmodern religious construction occurs in a consumer context because capitalism has provided the buying power, which underpins the availability of diversity and difference. Consumerism entered the picture when it became easy to "shop". • What has taken place is a process where religious commitment has been supplanted by consumption nurturing a person's spirituality. The deregulation of religion has mutated into a range of spirituality resources. Religion has become both a container for cultural conservation and a source of radical change. The realm of choice has opened up tremendously for most people in the affluent societies, giving unprecedented opportunities to chose lifestyles and beliefs from a range of options.
    25. 25. Human Interest Story • Spirituality can be seen as an aspect of the autonomous subject where religious expression becomes increasingly the product of individual biographies, patterned after similar human interest stories. Tracing individual paths of biographical identity construction is done by studying the actual practices that are adopted to make sense of life. Needless to say, autonomous spiritual subjects, who construct their own religious identity through peculiar patters of practices not only create new questions for social analysis, but also for ongoing religious activity.

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