Saturday, February 04, 2006

Quote: Walter Burghardt

As you exit this sacred spot hosting the Bread of Life, pledge yourselves to be a kind of sacrament—I mean, vibrant symbols that speak to the fears and tears of a broken world. Vow not only to joy with all whose laughter is richly human, but to weep with all those whose pain parallels your own. Take the first step wherever dislike divides; be willing to walk the extra mile. Challenge courageously a resurgent rugged individualism where the strong and the swift survive and the devil takes the hindmost. Such must you be, for sacraments are not magic. You will be effective symbols to the extent that St. Paul’s triad pervades you: “Faith, hope, love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love” (1 Cor 13: 13).
Walter Burghardt, S.J., from a homily given for this Sunday


Kyle Foley said...

i hate the word postmodern

Claude Muncey said...

Well, pick your own, then. How about complex, or maybe discontinuous with the modern project, or driven by a new paradigm -- whatever you prefer.

I have chosen to use that word for very specific reasons, some of which I presented in some of my first posts at this new address. It's a term with a respectable pedigree, around since the 19th century. The historian Arnold Toynbee found it useful as well.

What I am not into here is postmodernism. While Foucalt, Derrida and Lyotard have some interesting insights into the current situation, I think their solutions (or lack thereof) have little to offer. What interests me is the problem of postmodernity, the predicament we are in now, living during and after the collapse (or perhaps, transformation) of the Enlightenment project, and how that affects society and Christian ministry. Someone better to read about that would be Pope Benedict XVI, let's say the last couple of chapters of the book length interview Salt of the Earth.

It's the situation that we need to look at. The words for it are still being negotiated. You would not be the first person to suggest that postmodern in its various forms may have served its purpose and needs to be retired.