One of the reasons why contemporary Christians are having such a hard time with the postmodern moment is that we have made the mistake of thinking it is based on argument, instead of recognizing it as a massive cultural mood swing. It is a mood, not a defensible stance — and when somebody is in a funk, arguments often just reinforce that funk. It is like trying to persuade a squalling three-year-old who wants desperately to go to the park in the middle of a downpour, and trying to do so on the basis of sweet reason alone. How’s it going?
Now some Christians have made the mistake of thinking that we should reject the postmodern arguments, such as they are, but in a display of empathy, try to enter into the mood. But the mood is the problem. This is like rejecting cancer splotches while identifying with, and entering into, the cancer itself.
Postmodernists don’t reason — but they do rationalize. There are certain things they really want to do, of a sexual nature, and so they cop a pose that will allow them to do them. The arguments, to the extent they are mouthed, are just another accessory, like the thick-rimmed glasses and the ironic bowling. Enter the relevant Christian who doesn’t want to do those things on the seedy side (at least he says he doesn’t and so let us apply the judgment of charity). But, though he doesn’t want to do such things, he requests permission to cop the same pose anyway. Permission to do this is denied, but the hipster Christian cops it anyway, and the whole thing comes off about as square as a Nebraska farm plat.
If it is our task is to dispel the mood, as I am convinced it is, then we need to stop pretending that skinny jeans are the missional equivalent of Hudson Taylor’ pigtail. More than one believer in hot pursuit of street cred has only succeeded in picking up a bunch of street crud instead.
What dispels the mood? The answer is a bracing blast of gospel. The mood was created and is entirely sustained by guilt, most of it having to do with blood and sex. What people need is forgiveness, and not some lame version of themselves projecting cultural insecurities in the name of Jesus.