In reading a review of Blog!: How the World of Blogs And Bloggers Is Changing Our Culture, I had a gestalt moment about blogs, postmodernity, and the emergent church. And that was: these things are not going to destroy their predecessors. There is a great deal of talk in each of these communities about how they're "the answer" to whatever the problem was with the previous administration. In the blogosphere, it's about taking down the MSM; in post-modern circles, it's about how, finally, the mess that is modernity will be revealed; and in the emergent church circles, it's about how the church will be revolutionized/saved/reborn/awakened/rediscovered.
[Aside] Yes, there are folks in these camps who are moderate. But they're neither as loud as the others, nor as interesting to pick on. [/Aside]
Allegiance declaration time: I love blogs and the deleterioius effect they're having on the current MSM structure. I'm a fervent Jimmy Long convert and have no doubt that we live in a post-modern world. While not as much as others, I gave joy, laughter, blood, sweat and tears to an emergent church while Kellsey and I lived in Charlotte.
It seems to me that in all three areas, we're going to end up in some third place (which is why I like Jimmy's preference of "emerging" culture, as opposed to "postmodern" culture). But the MSM, Modernity, and the current Church will all end up there with us, too. Of course, I think that they will be significantly affected by blogs, post-modernity, and the emergent church, but we're still going to shuffle along into history with the same limp we had before blogs/postmodernity/emergent churches came along.
And yet, I still believe that these three are in a significant way antithetical to their predecessors. And I'm glad for the change! I guess that my problem with much of the rhetoric surrounding them (and especially surrounding the "emergent" church) is that they are salvific of whatever it is that's aling us: media/reporting, culture in general, or the Church. And here, I find myself aligning with Hegel: yes, these are different; yes, this is significant; yes, we should alter our practices as a result of them; but these will not, at the end of the day, change the course of the world. The course of the world is thesis, antithesis, synthesis ad nauseum.
But I now don't than take the Marxist view, which declares that I must have faith that we will get better once the right combination of thesis and antithesis appear, finally resulting in the worker's paradise. Nor do I take the liberal democratic capitalism view which declares that I must have faith that markets will always expand, that GDP can continue to grow, and we can all get wealthier and wealthier ad infinitum.
Rather, I believe that the only chance out of the Hegelian nauseum is an extra-cosmological event to derail the thesis, antithesis, synthesis course: the Emmanual Event, where God joined himself to Man in Jesus Christ, by the Spirit. This is the only true change event in History. It's the only big change event, it's the only little change event. Blogs, post-modernity, and the "emergent" church, while significant in their way, are not enough change to offer escape from the world system.
"But, Macon," you say, "we don't seem to be out of the thesis, antithesis, synthesis system, even though your 'event' occurred ~1970 years ago." True, it doesn't seem that way. But the event ignagurated a new, unseen (though not unfelt!) world in which we can live by the Spirit, even as we walk along in our old world. We no longer have to celebrate with abandon the latest "antithesis" as savior, though we might enjoy the change in the old world (as I do with post-modernity). And, like the brilliant minds at Despair, Incorporated, we can happily point out the silliness of the current thesis/antithesis/synthesis our old world currently is in.
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