post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa
September 16, 2008
Professor Jurie le Roux is one of the unsung heroes of my life. He was the first who attempted to teach me the modern and especially the postmodern philosophers, all those French and German people, I think he failed in this. He also was the first to attempt teaching me the early Church Fathers, also in this I believe he failed. Not because of anything he did wrong, but because I don’t think I ever was a good enough student for this brilliant man. But he was also the one who taught me that South African has missed the enlightenment, and in this, I think, he did strike a chord with me somewhere.
The Enlightenment was a time amazing technological progress, a time of positivism, a view that all problems can be solved. It elevated the perception of human reason to an all-time high. It is a time of which postmoderns are extremely critical. And it is a time with which I agree a lot of critique need to be voiced. But it is a time which never should have been missed. This was the time when critical thought also grew into adulthood…
This was the time South Africa missed. OK, I’m aware that what I’m now saying applies to the European immigrants only. But while the enlightenment was going on in Europe, we were busy fighting the British authorities in the Cape, then the blacks in the Vrystaat and Transvaal, then the British in the Vrystaat and Transvaal. Then we had the poor-white problems, just trying to survive, trying to get the farms going, then trying to institutionalize Apartheid, by the time the Republic of South Africa was founded (1961), the Enlightenment was at an end, and we just started to catch on. But Apartheid wasn’t the best place for this critical thought to develop. In this environment church was always right, and state as well. 1994 came, and the floodgates of South Africa was opened for the world to come in.
We were suddenly opened up to postmodern and post-enlightenment thought, but we weren’t post-enlightened, because the enlightenment never hit home. We never learned a culture of critical reflection. We never learned the art of critically looking at a government of societal structure, not simply as an individuals, but as a society. We don’t like what is happening in current South African politics, but do we have the ability to critically react, for a critical societal voice to appear.
It’s a society that maybe still need to grow up. That need to get out of adolescent shoes of emotional shouting or giving those we are mad of the silent treatment. We need to find an adult reflection, a deep critical voice. This is not a cry-out for the “better old days”, but the reality is that being postmodern without having engaged with enlightenment thought is only naïve, not post-enlightenment.
OK, so this was not the most religious synchroblog I ever wrote. You’ll find other synchrobloggers on the list below:
Lainie Petersen at Headspace with “Watching Daddy Die”
Kathy Escobar at The Carnival in My Head with “what’s inside the bunny?”
John Smulo at JohnSmulo.com
Erin Word at Decompressing Faith with “Long-Wearing Nail Polish and Other Stories”
Beth Patterson at The Virtual Teahouse with “the future is ours to see: crumbling like a mountain”
Bryan Riley at Charis Shalom
Alan Knox at The Assembling of the Church with “Maturity and Education”
KW Leslie at The Evening of Kent
Bethany Stedman at Coffee Klatch with “Moving Towards True Being: The Long Process of Maturity”
Adam Gonnerman at Igneous Quill with “Old Enough to Follow Christ?”
Joe Miller at More Than Cake with “Intentional Relationships for Maturity”
Jonathan Brink at JonathanBrink.com with “I Won’t Sin”
Susan Barnes at A Booklook with “Growing Up”
Tracy Simmons at The Best Parts with “Knowing Him Who is From the Beginning”
Joseph Speranzella at A Tic in the Mind’s Eye with “Spiritual Maturity And The Examination of Conscience”
Sally Coleman at Eternal Echoes
Liz Dyer at Grace Rules with “What I Wish The Church Knew About Spiritual Maturity”
Cobus van Wyngaard at My Contemplations with “post-enlightenment Christians in an unenlightened South Africa”
Steve Hayes at Khanya with “Adult Content”
Ryan Peter at Ryan Peter Blogs and Stuff with “The Foundation For Ministry and Leading”
Kai Schraml at Kaiblogy with “Mature Virtue“