Modernism/Foundationalism (old school)
Postmodern ideas have been interpreted in the mainstream culture as relativism: “there are no absolutes; everything is relative.” Many Postmodern theorists cringe at the equivalency. While similar, the two philosophies are not exactly the same. In the world of many emerging and young adults, all reality is constructed within specific contexts and experiences; therefore, we should not judge others for their beliefs, appearance, choices, or lifestyles. For this generation, the statement, “that may be true for you, but it’s not my reality” is not a problematic, nor confusing thing to say or believe. It is what we as a society have, perhaps inadvertently, taught them. These ideas have become entrenched in most areas of the public sphere. It is our new cultural milieu in Europe, Canada, and the United States.
Over the past two decades, Christian theologians and ministers have written about the many positive implications of postmodern ideals for the life of the church and for evangelism. Most of these writers, however, did not foresee the extent to which the ideas have been adopted, applied, and often perverted in the mainstream. In my ministry with students, it has sometimes been helpful to get them to identify the narratives or themes of their individual lives that are often very different from that of their peers. Helping them to see and understand the ways that they construct meaning can be cathartic. It can also help them to identify the ways that they are unique, the ways their talents and giftedness can be used in the future as a guide for career choices, relationships, etc. Sometimes it can help individuals gain some sense of agency in their lives when they have felt victimized or trapped by their past.
There are many different interpretations and manifestations of Postmodern thought. I encourage you to read broadly on the subject to better understand the philosophy and worldview as well as to help figure out how to parent, minister, and function in our changing society.