This question has interested me for at least three years and here is why. I entered the door to postmodernity in the mid-90’s (in Doctoral work) through a whole different response than the deconstructionists, a.k.a McIntyre, Hauerwas (who never uses the word postmodern), Lindbeck, Milbank etc.. Personally I learned much from Derrida, his followers, and the rest of the Continental thinkers that have grounded the postmodern critique. I have read them with fascination. I have in large part embraced their critique of modernity. I must admit however that appreciating their critique of modernity has not led me to then embrace their work as the means for doing theology that can lead us in a new faithfulness to Christ for our time. I want the critique, but I have found one or two of the other trajectories (that respond to the demise of modernity) much more promising for theology (Hauerwas, Lindbeck, Milbank and the many derivatives flowing from the Yale, Duke and Cambridge streams). At first, whenever I would talk about this in “emergent” circles I would get “blank stares” like I was some kind of sectarian fundamentalist. It wouldn’t be the first time. But I am far from it. Based on these experiences however, I think some of the reaction to Hauerwas et. al. within the emergent circles is too quick. Perhaps this sector of the emergent crowd lacks an understanding of how these thinkers are respondents to the postmodern malaise of our time before it even became a prominent topic for the N. American theological scene. I don’t know. Now I hear through the grapevine that there is a “Hauerwas mafia” in the emergent theological gatherings. If so, can I be a member?
All of this background is why I was pleased when Geoff over at “Church and Pomo” asked me to write a response to this question “Why is the emerging church drawn to deconstructive theology?” My post can be found here. Preceding me on their own take on this question were LeRon Shults, , Carl Raschke, Tony Jones, Jason Clark. I was honored to be included in the conversation. The conversation provides excellent background to the upcoming Emergent Theologians Conversation 2007. Wish I could be there! But even if you can’t be there, this whole discussion is worth reading for the philosophically oriented thinkers among the emerging church. If anyone goes over there to read it, I’d be interested in hearing what you’re thinking on this question.