Craig M. Gay, in his book The Way of the (Modern) World: Or, Why It’s Tempting to Live As If God Doesn’t Exist (Eerdmans, 1998), seeks to expose the symptoms of worldliness in the postmodern world. The organization of the book is quite thoughtful and the author builds a new theme off the previously theme, eventually tying all the themes together.
In a very basic form, the book develops around five progressive building blocks:
(a) Control—Man seeks to control his world through technology and rationalism. By this he refers to the impulse in the postmodern heart to control every area of life through technology, not merely to improve certain areas of life.
(b) Secularity—The aspirations of the modern man to this techno-rational control of the world leave little room for any god, save the “self-defining self.” God—if ever referenced at all—becomes a “god of the gaps,” a god whose necessity is limited to the areas of life that are outside of our control. Think “acts of god.”
(c) Individualism—The forces of control and secularity combine to encourage individualization, a fix-it-yourself mentality that breaks apart personal relationships and community.
(d) Anxiety—Man becomes an individualized self. But “the assumption of godlike responsibilities has turned out to be a heavy burden and that we have become increasingly anxious beneath the weight of this burden” (p. 308).
(e) Impatience—Combine control, secularity, individualism, and the anxiety from these godlike responsibilities and you end up with “what is possibly the master theme of modernity, and now of ‘postmodernity’: that of impatience” (p. 308).
This progression is helpful. And when the author begins to weave together the anxious impatience of our world his work really proves practical. Because, as Christians, we are called to cultivate an eschatological worldview and the spiritual disciplines of waiting and watching, distinctives directly undermined by modern forms of worldliness. I will leave the topics of prayer and community is for another post altogether.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Waiting and Watching
Excerpt from Tony Reinke (Miscellanies) post: Anxious Impatience
Posted by Jim at 6:44 AM