I found Tony’s starting point to invite us to think about our current 21st century context helpful during the Youth Ministry in a Globalized world talk. Globalization is a big word but with some unpacking and what he terms as a more sophisticated (for me more indepth) view of it we also see the flip side of “Glocalization” a kind of reverse effect of what is commonly perceived as “western cultural imperialism” (e.g. Mcdonaldization) to the creation of the possibility of the “local” being more “global” (e.g. even Mcdonalds has local dishes).
And this excited me because now … in many ways, people like us here in Malaysia for example has “space” or a “chance” to allow our voice to be heard, our food to be tasted by others, our concerns to be presented. And from a theological and ministry perspective not only become aware or even influenced by “western developments” but actually now also rise up to “contribute” and play a more significant role in the “Global” development of thinking, doing and living of the Christian faith …
when Tony walked through a simple timeline for western philosophy I was thinking about eastern philosophy and how confucianism, taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam. etc played their role in the shaping of our mindsets here and even how colonialism and modernism/secularism has affected us. I’ve read some stuff still need to work on my “work in progress” interpretive framework.
And putting these two side by side is a fascinating exercise and allows for some fertile ground for interaction. And indeed the gospel is unique in how the gospel incarnates into different cultures, adopts and adapts, or even transform or rejects a variety of aspects and yet has a constant about it – in Christ, the movement and leading of the Spirit and the mystery of the creator!
It’s interesting to see how “postive” aspects of the discussion on “postmodernism” actually opens up one to reconsider how often our thinking is less Biblical and relational than we perceive it to be … and can actually bring one to appreciate the gospel better and in my view more faithful to we are called to interact with the person of Jesus here and now especially in community.
most of us have a simplistic view of “postmodernism” and I found Tony opening up my mind further on a more “sophisticated” view of “postmodernism”. of course, with qualifiers through out that we need to think through how all this applies to Asia etc. But, painting it as a big monster we need to battle to me is not very helpful. perhaps it depends how this issue is discussed … my introduction to the word five years ago was more positive than negative thus I have less “jitters” when I’m in the discussion today. I do recognize the more radical (or even destructive) aspects of it (e.g. nihilism,absolute relativism *who actually REALLY believes this?*, etc) … but then that seems to be always the case in any philosophy or religion or any pursuit of knowledge. I recall hearing critiques on Enlightenment and Modernism during seminary days that highlighted the dangers of rationalism but that didn’t make me not appreciate the role of reason. So, I think we can at least become less alarmist and have confidence in our ability especially in personal humility and community to work through our thinking, doing and living … again together!