05 August 2007

Postmodern Progeny- An Interview


Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture


This is my friend, Mary DeMuth.
Back when the term "postmodern" was just a distant rumble, we were babysitting each other's kids. Now "postmodern" is a word we hear in everyday American conversation. The DeMuth's are no longer our near neighbors. And all of our kids are getting older, maturing, and growing up.

Mary's newest book talks about navigating postmodernism with this next generation of children.
Your kids and mine.
Here's a bit of our recent E-mail conversation:

What does postmodern mean? And why should it matter to parents?
Postmodernism is the waiting room between what used to be a modern worldview and what will be. According to several postmodern scholars, we’re in a shift right now, leaving modern ideas behind, but what we are shifting to is not yet fully defined. Postmoderns believe that rationalism and/or more education doesn’t necessarily create a better society. They typically don’t embrace the notion of absolute truth, though they reach for the transcendent. They are skeptical, and often question whether science is something to be embraced or feared. The question for parents is how will we mine the current worldview, even as it shifts? What in it can we embrace as biblical? What is not biblical? What I’ve seen in the church is a fearful adherence to what is familiar. So we cling to modern ideas, even though they may not be biblical and shun postmodern ideas even when they might be biblical. Our children will meet this shifting worldview no matter what our opinion of it is.

So, what aspects of postmodernism resonate with you?
The emphasis on community. It’s not about me and Jesus but about WE and Jesus. Plus the emphasis on the health of all people of the world. I’m tired of the American bubble, where we’re insulated from poverty, pain, disease and since we are, we don’t do anything about it. Most postmoderns care a great deal about the folks in this world. I love that.

What bugs you about postmodernism?

I happen to believe in absolute truth, so that’s a problem! But more than that, I worry that all our rambling about it, trying to discern what it is, has caused us to rely more heavily on our own intellectual pursuit of God than our heart. When I get caught up in that, I remind myself of my friend Jeanne’s son Jacob, whose heart after Jesus takes my breath away. Living with a brain injury, Jacob throws off pretense as he worships God, arms vaulted to the sky in unashamed heart worship. That’s the kind of believer I want to be. That’s the kind of heart I want. I love this verse: “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). For me, for my children, that’s my prayer, that we’d be simply and purely devoted to Jesus no matter what worldview we find ourselves in.

Compare and contrast your childhood with that of your children's. (ie. How do you see this postmodern mindset in your own kids and their friends?) Kids these days are more expectant of authenticity. They can see through a fake pretty easily, whereas in my generation, we may have seen parents as fakes, but we never said anything about it and we still respected our parents. But kids today don’t respect adults who hide behind facades.
And my kids are more globally minded than I ever was at their ages, though that could be because we lived in France for 2 ½ years!

How can a parent help their children prepare for the postmodern world outside their door?

Become a conversational parent. Talk to your kids. Listen. Share your story. Dare to believe that God has much to teach you through your kids. Be humble enough to learn from them. Create a haven for your kids, an oasis in your home that protects, supports, and gives kids space to be themselves. Take seriously the mandate that you are responsible for the soul-nurturing of your children. Teach your children to joyfully engage their world, while holding tightly to Jesus’ hand. Teaching this comes primarily from modeling it in your own life. Do you engage your neighbors? Are you more interested in God’s kingdom than your own? Admit your failures openly with your children, showing how much you need Jesus to live your daily life.

To the Christian who sees the way the cultural tide is turning and wants to meet it but finds themselves in a church or movement adhering to the familiar simply because familiar is comfortable, do you have any advice?
Just love Jesus. He transcends cultural shift. Dare to be all about the Kingdom of God, following hard after Him. That’s what we live for, anyway. That “well done, good and faithful servant.”

Describe a time when you pumped your fists and thought, "Oh ye-ah, oh ye-ah! I just did something postmodern. I'm awesome. I'm cool. I'm relevant."
Last August when I got my nose pierced!

Who is your favorite artist and why?
I love anything that smacks of American pastoral scenes. Love that stuff. Big skies. Pastures. Maybe a tree and a house.

This is for you, Mary.

Ryder's House, Edward Hopper, 1933

To purchase Authentic Parenting in a Postmodern Culture, click on the book photo at the top of this post. To read more postmodern thoughts from creative author-mother-with-a-pierced-nose, Mary DeMuth, click on her smiling face above to reach her blog.

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Blogger relevantgirl said...

I love Hopper! You nailed the artist!!!!

Thanks for being such a fun hostess with the mostest!

7:34 AM  
Blogger Erin said...

I like Hopper too.
I guess birds of a feather flock to the same sweeping pastures.

I was also thinking about postmodernism and what kind of tattoo I would get if I ever did... the only thing that came to mind was a vegetable. I love spinach, but do you think people would be able to tell what it was? Maybe a head of lettuce or a tomato or carrot.

Tell me soon, though. I'm on my way to the tattoo parlor!

2:30 PM  
Blogger rhon said...

Getting something permanent on your body is a big decision. John and I have always toyed with the idea but, as he gets older, he cools more and more to it.

I always thought I would get "HIS" on my back in great gothic lettering.

3:16 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

That's great!
Better than my imaginary tattoo of a vegetable.

4:10 PM  
Blogger relevantgirl said...

I'm thinking of getting a celtic cross on the underside of my wrist.

9:47 AM  

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