Sunday, December 31, 2006

Pomos in The Economist

Jean-François Lyotard might not have enjoyed an afternoon at Selfridges. He was a French philosopher not known for his interest in handbags. But, had he dropped in for a little retail therapy, he might have recognised what he saw. As he wrote, “eclecticism is the degree zero of contemporary general culture; one listens to reggae, watches a Western, eats McDonald's food for lunch and local cuisine for dinner, wears Paris perfume in Tokyo and retro clothes in Hong Kong; knowledge is a matter for TV games.”
Interesting article in The Economist on how today's shopping experience was predicted by an unlikely source - the Pomos or Post-Modernists - folk like Jean-François Lyotard.

I love eclecticism... I thrive on my ability to be the artist of my own life (albeit in the hands of my Creator)... and actively enjoy the fragmentation of life. The nanolog is a representation of this. Its the whole of me :: my faith... my family... my life... things that push my buttons... stuff that makes me smile... or think... or pray.

Its not about numbers... I don't care whether something is popular or not... if it works for me then I am happy. Ironically, more-often-than-not something limited has more appeal for me... the obscure has more kudos... and marketers have picked this up.

Taking this to my expression of faith :: mass appeal no longer works... its about the niche... the fragment - its about the sheep, not the flock! I see this as being vitally important... its about small, interlinked and interdependent communities... its about taking theology from the pulpit and into the small group.

This is where I see the emerging church being important. There is no longer a one size fits all approach to life. As such... there shouldn't be a one size fits all approach to church and faith. I no longer wish to be lead... but to lead my own life.

Thing is... with all this eclecticism and fragmentation... the true... the real... the authentic comes out like wheat separated from chaff. Think of some of the things I love - iPod... Moleskine... Mac... Stussy... The authentic comes to the front.

This is the opportunity that the church has... or should I say individuals have... to bring the revolutionary whose birth we recently celebrated to the fore. Bring authentic teaching and guidance to the fore in our own lives... and shine in this dark and confused world.

With all this excitement, however, comes confusion and uncertainty for some as a result of fragmentation. Its as if modernity has become a niche in itself. Just as I love the challenge of change and newness... some people value predictability and sameness... The feel secure within tradition.

That's what I love about these times... these interesting times... there is room for everything... and everybody. If you want tradition... you can have it. If you want the obscure... you can have it. You want both... sure, why not? I like that. Its about breadth as well as depth.

Hope this makes sense?

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Chris H said...

Makes sense to me!

This is the opportunity that the church has... or should I say individuals have... to bring the revolutionary whose birth we recently celebrated to the fore.
I long for the day when the words "church" and "individuals" mean pretty much the same thing... when believers realise that they are the Church! But I won't go on too much, 'cos I would write for ages about that :)

Chris H said...

I should also point out that I'm not having a go at you for what you wrote - I know you'll agree with me... it's just my pet subject at the moment!

Anonymous said...

True, true. We are becoming more able to persue what truly interests us without being shunned by society.

It is a great opportunity, as it is no longer weird to be spiritual. And even if it is weird, then that's ok too.

Chris, you may want to check out the comments on a post by Alan Hirsch. It's been an interesting topic:

Chris H said...

Thanks Matt


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