What is fundamentalism?
Martin Marty, in his book “Fundamentalisms Observed”, defined fundamentalism as a selective recovery of a religious tradition in order to fight against a modernist worldview; Karen Brown called it an “extreme response to the failed promise of Enlightenment rationalism”; Castells called it a way of creating identity on the basis of communal resistance. Bosch, prescient as ever, said that
it would be strange if the present period of uncertainty did not also throw up candidates which propagate either a convulsive clinging to the past or an even more extreme “conservative” backlash (such as some current manifestations of fundamentalism)
In other words, fundamentalism is a last-ditch attempt, by restating your argument harder and louder than anyone else, to rebel against an overwhelming change in society. We saw it (in Marty’s and Brown’s terms) as an attempt to safeguard pre-modern faith against the rising tide of modernism; now, as Bosch points out, we see it as an attempt to safeguard modern faith against the rising tide of postmodernism.
Events of the past week have made me realise that, according to these definitions, it is no exaggeration to describe the mainstream of current Evangelicalism as fundamentalist. Read more about Is Evangelicalism fundamentalist?
This blog isn’t dead. I’ve been busy the past week or so doing some fairly all-consuming programming, I’ll be busy the next week or so with Christmas, and I have a long post I’m working on. But here’s a short rant about Cafe Church.
I was talking with someone yesterday who had been involved in setting up a cafe church - a funky, postmodern church that, as the name implies, meets in a cafe. I would have thought that setting up a church like that is easy: Read more about Cafe Church
Bingo chart for Emerging Church blog posts
Well, of last year, really. But it's something that I keep getting drawn back to. Martin and Hazel are doing great stuff in Argentina, and thinking hard too. This is a part of one of their blog posts that really spoke to me:
"I take a moral stance; you are an intolerant bigot; he is being prosecuted under section 5 of the Public Order Act."
So we're here at the end of another term. On Wednesday, I had a long tutorial and we went over a bunch of theological points of interest. Of course, we talked about all kinds of other spiritual and personal stuff too, but we had a good theological chinwag - I think Richard appreciates it actually, and I hope it gives him a hard time. As he said to H the other day, "Simon always gives me a run for his money." Sometime this week I'm going to take one of the other tutors a bottle of wine and we'll put the church to rights.