Introducing : The Postmodern Postmortem

My good friend Sherman has been blogging away until I need to wait for Monday to catch up and engage in conversation with him from my side … this series of blogs has been insightful. I’ll pick out some statements that jump out for me .. read the rest for yourself. I hope to “interact” with him more in the coming days … at least Sunday evening …this “post-colonial” approach/frame looks like a good path to go my smarter friend (you can put up the doggie pictures as intervals!) …

*UPDATE: for a condensed version check The Postmodern Postmortem (An Asian Construction of a Generous Orthodoxy)*

The Postmodern Postmortem (Part 1)
“So there is much conversation taking place in matters pertaining to postmodernity and its host of variant expressions. But what does this mean for us, people of Asia? Do we have a postmodernity of which to speak? My take on this issue is that we have no postmodernity.

In the first place, we possess no firsthand historical reality of the Enlightenment, and therefore, no modernity. The modernity we do have is that which has been swept onto our shores as a result of the colonial era. What we have is, as it were, the debris of modernity. And even so, this debris has mutated over the past decades as it took root in the local context. And yes, the onus is upon Asian Christians to delineate our own understanding of our local modernities…”

The Postmodern Postmortem (Part 2)
“… The colonial period lasted for several centuries, duringwhich the economic, political and religious impact on local soil constituted the defining reference points for the colonised locals. As was to be expected, Western Christianity took root in the same manner. And thus was the commencement of organised Christianity on local ground in the replicated manner of the traditional Western ecclesiastical life. It was no surprise that after a prolonged period of its existence, the people of the land could not identify with Western Christianity. This is not to say that the Church failed to grow. Far from it, many were drawn to the gospel; but together with that, they were also obligated to embrace the cultural imperatives of the imperialists. Also, there were many others who declined to accept “the faith of the white man”. ..”

The Postmodern Postmortem (Part 3)
“… am not talking about a simple repackaging of the Western gospel to give it an Asian face. If theology is the language of the Christian community, then Western theology (with all its rationally constructed categories) is the language of the Western Christian community. If so, I am in effect proposing the construction of a theological language that emerges from the Asian Christian community…”

The Postmodern Postmortem (Part 4)
“… I cannot emphasise enough the case for which I am arguing above that our struggle is a post-colonial one, and not a postmodern one. In my mind, even a marginal deviation from this emphasis poses the unfortunate prospect of a digression in my efforts. And because our struggle is not postmodernity but post-colonialism, we are not herein reckoning with the tension between theological liberalism and theological orthodoxy as is the case in the West. In fact, such an insignificantly marginal segment of the Christian community here is theologically unorthodox that their presence poses almost no concern to the rest of the community. Our battle is, however, against the unthinking Evangelical imperialism which suffocates the prospect of authentic expression in our Asian Christianity. It locks theology up within the confines of Western cultural realities. This cultural imperialism, as I have mentioned, has shifted from high-culture imperialism to low-culture imperialism. We are therefore endeavouring to emerge with a “generous orthodoxy” of another kind…”

The Postmodern Postmortem (Part 5)
“… Perhaps attempting to develop new Asian theological categories does not necessitate a rejection of Western theological categories after all. It just requires that I move beyond such familiar categories. Just because I seek to move beyond Western theological categories does not mean that I am herein rejecting the propositional and confessional claims of Western Christianity….”

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