Wednesday, February 28, 2007

something i sent jifc's email team

I do not under any circumstances want our website to be cherry. I want it to be mysterious and dangerous and challenging and deep and comforting and welcoming and inviting and loving and not sweet or slick. I want it in every sense to be Postmodern rather than Modern.
Modern isn’t necessarily bad – I love some Modern things – but Modern is safe and familiar and it’s a different mindset and worldview than we have at JIFC.
The emerging paradigm of the 21st century is beginning, shaping, forming; the Modern is ending. The Modern is what we know; Postmodern is what we are discovering. The Postmodern/emerging, therefore, is dangerous because it’s unknown.
Jesus is dangerous; the Church is not.
I want JIFC to be dangerous.
Examples:

Modern pop music – Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, disco, hair bands, boy bands, Beach Boys (see, Modern isn’t necessarily bad!), MTV (because it’s driven by commercial appeal, not a vision that transcends that), Shania Twain, Britney Spears, Garth Brooks, Yanni, John Tesh, later Elvis.
Postmodern pop music – almost all Jazz – especially Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, etc. Billie Holiday. Randy Newman – but not when he’s doing Disney/Pixar soundtracks. Ray Charles (because he was so innovative and refused to stick to one genre). Early Elvis. Johnny Cash. Nirvana. Late Beatles. Austin City Limits. Imogen Heap. Gillian Welch. Hank Williams Sr. U2 when they’re staying hungry. Beethoven.

Modern movies – Stand By Me, Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, The Way We Were, Titanic, Notting Hill, The Alamo, Master and Commander, Sense and Sensibility (see? Modern isn’t bad! It can be lovely. It affirms a meaningful, orderly universe)
Postmodern movies – The Green Mile (because it embraces mystery), Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971 version), The Godfather I & II, American Beauty, Raising Arizona, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Unforgiven, Shaun of the Dead (Postmodern isn’t necessarily weird – it just invites the viewer to participate in what may or may not be a meaningful universe – but it’s seeking meaning, just not in conventional places)
Some that are in between – that is, they embrace nonsensical elements that don’t necessarily tie together and don’t behave like a linear/logical movie, but still have an overall sense of order and resolution (Modern): The Princess Bride, The Shawshank Redemption, Sling Blade, The Truman Show (because they question everything and yet ultimately ties it all together and makes sense)

Modern pastimes – watching football, malls, fast food, cocktail parties, sitcoms, Bible Study, belonging to any institution, deciding by majority opinion
Postmodern pastimes – not watching sports but doing them yourself, boutiques/South Congress – especially 10,000 Villages, The Internet in general, walking a labyrinth, deciding by consensus – or not deciding at all

Modern heroes – John Wayne, Tom Hanks, most politicians, the Olsen Twins, Denzel Washington, the Christian/Western world Jesus, Superman, Billy Graham and megachurch leaders
Postmodern heroes – James Dean, Jack Nicholson, Mother Teresa, the Dalai Lama, the Jewish/Eastern world Jesus, Dave Chapelle, Wes Anderson, Batman

So, how to balance a website’s function as informational, with the heart of JIFC, which is both inviting and challenging? Tricky.
But it’s worth it. Voltaire, the 18th century French philosopher and cynic, said, “The good is the enemy of the great.”

Let’s be great. If it gets us into trouble, all the better. That means we must be stirring something up. I hope that Journey can be so far out there that we’re never quite sure of what we’re doing, except learning to love and forgive, and serving God and others.

3 comments:

emprlp said...

Hmmm. I think Bible Study can be postmodern. Depends on who's particpating.

nonprofitprophet said...

so does Postmodern then become "modern" when some time has passed and everyone is used too it and it is no longer the new hip way of looking at stuff?

revrin rick said...

thanks for the comment emprlp - bible study CAN be postmodern. the thing that's important to me is that following jesus isn't about "study" as in the Modern idea of finding out the answers, making an outline so that the thing is dissected and sorted and tidy. jesus was a rabbi - he taught his understanding of the bible - but he didn't answer questions or make it tidy. he made it messy, invited his students into the process themselves. what i'm interested in is wrestling with something, letting it soak in, not figuring out the answer. there is no answer. there is no spoon.