Volunteering as a Chaplain in jail ministry once a month at our local Kalamazoo jail has certainly been an eye opener at times. Guilt and shame have a powerful hold on many of the inmates along with anger and blame. Uncovering the “story behind the story” as I meet with these individuals is often the challenge as I provide a listening ear and try to help them sort out their internal conflicts. These broken men and women generally feel excluded, marginalized and judged by the outside world. Many prisoners actually feel a protective cocoon by being enclosed in the confined walls of the jail system.
I found Jean-Francois Lyotard’s statement that reason and power are one and the same – and are synonymous with ‘prison, selection process, and the public good’ as a truly interesting concept. Lyotard goes on with this descriptive scenario:
“Prison is the only place where power is manifested in its naked state, in its most excessive form, and where it is justified as moral force. What is fascinating about prisons is that, for once, power doesn’t hide or mask itself; it reveals itself as tyranny pursued into the tiniest detail; it is cynical and at the same time, pure and entirely justified, because its practice can be totally formulated within the framework of morality. Its brutal tyranny consequently appears as the serene domination of Good over Evil, of order over disorder.”
Insights into the world of political correctness, multiculturalism, and the future of legal democracy are so desperately needed in our nation today. We are a nation in turmoil. We have a leader who doesn’t respect or adhere to political correctness. His actions often exclude, marginalize, or insult groups of people who are socially disadvantaged or already discriminated against. Multiculturalism should be enlisted to support distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society; yet, we have seemed to have lost this decorum in our government today.
I found it interesting in Explaining Postmoderism how the author shared that in Ancient Greece, the sovereign power was exercised by the people in a body – while in the United States, democracy has been given to a republic government. So, have we regressed over the past 2000 years? Supposedly, constitutional government exists in a democracy and the power of the leader is check and restrained. Hmmm – doesn’t sound like the USA!
Postmodernism is an activist strategy against the coalition of reason and power. The author quotes Frank Lentriccia: “Postmodernism seeks not to find the foundation and the conditions of truth but to exercise power for the purpose of social change.” I also found Foucault’s reflections most intriguing when he discusses capitalism. He states that the oppressed status of women, the poor, racial minorities, and others are almost always veiled because of self-serving rhetoric within the confines of postmodernism.
In today’s world, right and wrong are clouded and in a very confused state. Hate is integrated into the people through incorrect propaganda, lies, and deceit. Yet, followers continue to believe in the leadership of our country. The opposite of love is not hate; it is fear. Everyone in this country seems to be so fearful of differing beliefs. I serve a diverse population in Hospice and my patients all have differing beliefs. My role is to meet them where they are at and help them on the journey. I have found that all I need to do is sit back and listen…there is so much to learn without making judgments, expressing my own convictions, or making them believe as I do. Let’s embrace our differences and let love win…even in this postmodernism world of confusion!
From the perspective of theologian Stanley Hauerwas: “Postmodernism merely names an interesting set of developments in the social order that is based on the presumption that God does not matter!”
 Stephen R. C. Hicks, Explaining Postmodernism: Skepticism and Socialism from Rousseau to Foucault (UK: Ockham’s Razor Publishing, 2011), Kindle Edition. (no page numbers provided)
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 Stanley Hauerwas, The Peaceable Kingdom (Michiana: University of Notre Dame, 1983), Kindle.