Defining "Postmodern"

What do you think of when you hear the word “postmodern”? For me, I figured it was the current descriptor of our culture, just as we had the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Modern World. But evidently, the word postmodern carries much more passion and controversy than I ever knew.

By definition, postmodernism is used to characterize the movement, particularly in the last 25-50 years, that arose in direct opposition to the perceived failures of the movement of modernism. Generally speaking, characteristics of postmodern thinking include deconstructionism/reconstruction, social obligation, community, relativism, and skepticism. Evidently, controversy exists regarding postmodern art, architecture, politics, and you guessed it…religion.

When you mix postmodern thinking and ideals in with religion, then things get really sticky. People begin to use the word postmodern interchangeably with other incendiary phrases like “emergent church” and “liberal Christianity”. Technically, these phrases are not synonyms, even though they are used that way. Regardless, they are still emotionally charged words.

Unfortunately, as a result many are quick to judge books and authors who espouse any postmodern ideals, quote anyone related to the emergent church movement or merely use the word postmodern in the title, regardless of the context.

Obviously, you have put together the clues and see where my ramblings are headed. Don’t let the title Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture scare you away from an amazing parenting book. The title does not say How to be come an Authentic Postmodern Parent or You need to be postmodern to be a good parent or even I love Postmodernism and so should you. It says Authentic Parenting IN a Postmodern Culture. In the book, Mary is not trying to make a statement for or against postmodernism. She’s merely pointing out that postmodernism is the state of the culture we live in. Our children will encounter postmodern thinkers. So, how do we parent in light of that?

I loved this book from beginning to end, and I’ll be posting more of my thoughts on it over the next few weeks. I hope you won’t judge this book by its title (okay, I know it was cheesy, but hey…it worked!). Pick it up and once you’ve read it, let me know what you think.



  1. L.L. Barkat

    Yes, I read about the title woes on Mary’s site. In a way, I simply couldn’t believe it. The IN is so obvious.

    Regardless, I think even if people want to think it means “I love postmodernism and so should you”, there’s a market in that place. Maybe this is the market God would like to reach, though initially unplanned by the marketing people.

  2. Pingback: Modernism Imposes Order with Arrogance and Presumption — Goodword Editing

  3. I tracked back from Marcus’ comment that became a post – and am glad for the definition. Never a student of history, the terms really do throw me. And yes, in a religious setting I certainly have the connotation that the word “postmodern” is not a good thing – and reacted to the title of the book in that fashion when I read Marcus’ posting.

    Would you please tell me how, on this blog, I might “subscribe” to you? I’m a bit tech challenged but would still like to read yours more often that I figure out how to find my way back form comments.


  4. spaghettipie

    Hi Susan! Glad you found my new blogsite. I added a button on the right hand side that you can click to subscribe to me (click the little icon). If you use something like bloglines or feedblitz, I think you can go directly into your account and enter my blog url.
    And yes, check out Mary’s book. I assure you it will be worth the read!

  5. OK – I clicked on it – twice – as nothing seemed to happen the first time – maybe because I’d already left you happy birthday wishes so am “logged in”.

    When you “migrated” over to this site, were you able to bring all your previsous posts over with you?

  6. Pingback: Summary of APT Week One « spaghettipie

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