Thinking that postmodernism is a threat, many Christians take a duck-and-cover approach to dealing with it. But that will not make postmodernism go away. Can Christians learn from postmodern thinkers and their critique of modernism? Yes, says author Crystal L. Downing. Postmodernism should not be judged by some of the problematic practices carried out in its name. In a lively engagement with literature, philosophy and art, Downing introduces readers to what postmodernism is and where it came from, aiming to show how Christians can best understand, critique and even benefit from its insights. She draws on her own experiences as a graduate student and her careful research into this worldview's modernist and artistic origins, the challenges of foundationalism and poststructuralism, and the complexity of relativism. She ends with a challenge to Christians: that they not be postmodern in their attitudes towards postmodernism, but instead to "be in the world and not of it" and to extend grace where it is most needed. Downing believes that the challenges, questions and insights of postmodernism can contribute to a deeper and clearer grasp of our faith, as well as providing unique paradigms for sharing the truth of Christ.
Crystal L. Downing, distinguished professor of English and film studies at Messiah College, has published widely on the relationship between Christianity and culture. She is the author of Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L. Sayers and How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith.