Sunday, February 3, 2008

Reflections on Week 4 Reading

Cultural Studies: Barker: Postmodernity
I really liked this weeks reading in Barker. I think this chapter was very insightful on the history of modernism with reason, rationality, and the quest for absolutes. As I was reading I realized how much I related to being a postmodern thinker. "Core to the postmodern structure of feeling is:
-- a sense of the fragmentary, ambiguous, and uncertain nature of living
--an awareness of the centrality of contingency
-- a recognition of cultural difference
--an acceleration in the pace of living (207)

With this knowledge it is hard not to recognize the importance of postmodern thought and those who helped deconstruct modernisms idealism to reveal a sense of unity within ALL people. It seems that modernism was set up for bourgeoisie western white men who could control power with absolutes, the one 'little' flaw seems to be all the others that have risen from the ashes or have been oppressed by this thinking demanding liberation. Postmodernity is not simple but it is making more and more sense to me.

Issues of Subjectivity and Identity:
LOVED this chapter. I love digging in to the "I" and wrestle with finding meaning and identity. I think this chapter was really insightful to understanding what makes up the self and what in the self we find valuable and important. I was really challenged by the concepts of agency and the subchapters of choice and determination. It's amazing to realize all that enters in the self to execute a choice. I think it's interesting that their are so many factors in the person presently but also cultural factors, past choices, and future desires. I think this is really important to assimilate our theological understanding because without wrestling with this concept what is the point of wrestling with our faith?

Theology and Pop Culture:
As the chapters progress I am having a really hard time with this book. I think it's interesting that with cultural theory a lot of understanding is based on language and the use of language. I think Cobb is having a hard time straddling the historical religious language and current postmodern thought. If we take the argument of language seriously this theological tools section could have been a chapter that gave ways to bridge the languages together. Instead I received (although valuable) a history lesson on Tilich. The problem is that we are past a point where Tillich's thoughts can set up a viable foundation for a real analysis of popular culture in 2008.

Contextual Theology:
The Translation Model seems like a viable option for translating the gospel with the least cultural damage. Granted I haven't read the other models but this model is set up simply. Experiences of the past, scripture, and tradition impact our recognition of how we should experience the present and how that works with culture, human experiences, social location, and social change. I think we bring our own values and we communicate with the location one might transition into. We must understand our own values so that when we enter into others we are able to educate ourselves on their cultural values as well.

Response to Jason's Post:
I like your thoughts on this chapter. I think you ask a great question when you as about the elements that draw us nearer to our faith as well as to God. At what point does the symbols switch from a personal spiritual experience to something that manipulates and consumes a Christian identity? To go further do these experiences begin to define the person and want this for others and if we do does this turn into a trend because others want this as well?

Thanks for your thoughts Jason. I really appreciated our after class conversation about Marxism. I think it is really important that we continue to find the beauty of our history both good and bad and wrestle with that in our own personal faith.

1 comment:

C. Wess Daniels said...

"It seems that modernism was set up for bourgeoisie western white men who could control power with absolutes..."

Great point here. I think that might be (somewhat) overly simplistic but still generally correct, and it's certainly how it has played itself out.

On Tillich - while I do think the language has shift, I still see the value in learning this kind of history. Who has gone before, what has been said, and where do we build from? Otherwise we remain overly individualistic and still rooted in the Enlightenment's disdain for tradition. Tillich's trajectory offers a theological path for where you are now and while you might not use his language, you certainly (in some senses) are in his "tradition."

great job on your other posts too!