I handed in a paper today, one which has been looming over my semester, bogging me down, for several weeks now. Contrary to what I had expected, the “loominosity” hasn’t lifted. This might be because the paper was fairly open-ended, so I had to set boundaries to it which seemed somewhat arbitrary to me. It feels incomplete, but it probably would feel that way no matter how long I worked on it. So I handed it in.
Maybe that looming feeling relates to something else. Whatever it is, I don’t like it.
Maybe it’s the time of year. Strangely enough, I find early spring kind of depressing and bittersweet. The melting snow, the mud, the cool temperatures. I went for a bit of a walk the other day which was actually uplifting. Maybe in spring my soul longs for solitude. Maybe that’s it.
Anyway, last week I managed to watch one of the Academy Award contenders for Best Picture: A Serious Man. It’s a modern retelling of the story of Job and the film is as open-ended as that Biblical book (as well as their film, No Country for Old Men). But the lack of clarity or resolution is, I suspect, partly the point of the story, so it didn’t frustrate me as it might have. It’s a darkly funny film and the acting is terrific. It’s entertaining and thought-provoking and bears repeated viewing. 4/5 stars.
Also, last week I read most of James Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism?: Taking Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to Church. It was an excellent book, which argued for what has been called “ancient-future” worship: appropriating the traditions and practices of the ancient (or even simply premodern) church into a postmodern context. Smith is a proponent of “Radical Orthodoxy“, which is a position he argues for in the book, and he has piqued my interest in that movement.
My only critique of the book is that it focuses too much on the “emerging” church and the “postmodern” church, which, in my mind, seems to pin the movement to an “ism” rather than as an authentic form of church without strict ideological allegiances (such as “we are a postmodern church”). However, I suspect that one of the reasons he insists on doing this is because part of function of the book is a critique the so-called “postmodern church” which Smith argues is actually thoroughly modern (simply a revamped version of the “seeker sensitive” model).
I highly recommend this book, particularly for those who are skeptical of postmodern thought and its relation to the Christianity and the church.