(is there something subversive about this picture? *just in case some are wondering … I’ll note the Cross is still central … grin*)
I’m not sure whether I’ll have time to blog about a fruitful feeble attempt we tried last saturday at the emergent Malaysia open (eMo) meeting. so I’ll let one of the presenters Alway share from Henry IV, Leaves & JFK
“I think the EMO session on Saturday was helpful to everyone. Whilst there was maybe some slight discomfort with the postmodern-oriented deliveries and ‘agendas’ (smile) of both Kia Meng and me, I think people generally brought home a richer perspective of post-modernity, its context, its implications, some misunderstandings of it and one or two ways the Church can ‘milk it’ for the kingdom. (Of nice added value was perhaps the fact that our EMO venue was also used as a trading-point for book enthusiasts, a ‘den of wisdom’ as Sivin strategically phrased it, hehe).
Some of the words post-modernity sparked in the participants are worth recalling: “Duh?”, “Huh?” Yes. Very pomo: conceptually vague, but spot-on in ’embodying’ the favour/mood/spirit of people!
I certainly benefited from Kia Meng’s introduction to the historical events surrounding Descarte’s (the ‘big-time’ philosopher who dominates many an elementary Maths textbook!) thoughts, Henry IV’s preceding reforms and the impact of his conspiracy-soaked death. I confess I’m a nut in matters of medieval European history. Thanks, Kia Meng, for showing its link to “I am thinking, there I exist” (and for correcting the more popular, “I think, therefore I am” – he also noted how D.A. Carson today’s society as one built around, “I shop, therefore I am”!).
Minor tension arose around Kia Meng’s expressed rejection of the Basic Life program. But I think we can hold together both the value of a Western program transplated/imported to the East its occasionally uncritical use by over-enthusiastic (but no less God-loving) practitioners.
General principles are probably indispensable in our world and Church, but caution is needed to avoid blanking out completely the differences and individual uniqueness among and of particulars.
I’m glad Kia Meng highlighted this as it was then easier for me to explain Nietzsche’s gripe with thinking during his time. The concept of a ‘leaf’ violates all leaves. And if our Basel professor had a problem with that, imagine his quarrel with the categorisation and ‘grouping together’ of ideas like God, Man, Society, Knowledge, etc.
My session was a blur to me (as it usually is whenever I ‘evaluate’ my own presentations). Most people looked as if they understood(!), but I didn’t get many questions and I had to leave early so I couldn’t quite gauge how most people felt.
I hope, at least, the books I put on the slide were helpful. Maybe I’ll try to get an outline out soon. (Those interested to see the outline of my Hell talk can find it here).
Lots of work needed, surely, to reap spiritual fruit from these exchanges. The main issue is whether or not we live in a substantially ‘new’ world from that mainly characterized by modernity, what this new world considers important, worthy of attention, how this new world thinks, lives, feels, etc. and whether our former approaches need to be rethought and even replaced. Sivin and Yew Khuen’s responses cum rejoinders to me and Kia Meng focused, if I’m not wrong, on the need to reconsider how and why we do what we do, in light of the whole pomo debate, whilst giving full credit to the contributions modernity has bestowed (and continue to bestow) on us.
Looking at my students, my church, my community (even in 2nd-world Kuala Lumpur), I certainly think the time is ripe for a new paradigm of truth and life (sorry if this sounds corny, summaries always do, don’t they?!).
And if you’re STILL wondering what the JFK pic is doing there, well, watch the movie and ask yourself: Is it a ‘motion picture’ or a documentary or what? Is it truth or fiction or some kind of hybrid? And, most importantly, do these distinctions matter?
Okay. There’s a multi-player Half Life session going on around me. Time to party (grin).”
A new comer college student Doulos had these interesting to say from pomo which has an insightful twist at the last sentance …
“Went to BLC today to listen to a discussion organized by the Emergent conversation of Malaysia headed by Ps.Sivin Kit. The topic was on Modernity, Postmodernity and what it means in Malaysia. More than two hours of hard stuff I must say. Understanding history and culture is important and I must say I got out of the session much more enlightened. Postmodernism is a very engaging topic. Introduced to this word in the beginning of the year and it continues to grab my interest. The only problem is that I have not fully understood what is modernity. So I will turn backwards a bit. hehe”
more when I can sqeeze some time … I’m off to Genting at 12noon .. very little time.