Lament (Thomas Oden)

Oden, Thomas. Lament.

This isn’t so much Oden’s official memoir or autobiography.  Rather, it is the beginning of autobiography, for it seems this story must be told more than once.  He is documented his leaving of the liberal (or as he calls it, “liberated”) mindset.  This leads him to ask the question if the mainline seminaries can be reformed.

His narrative is structured around three feasts: Sophia, a Mass, and a charismatic eucharist.  In the first one a feminist polytheist came to Drew Seminary and preached a message on Divine Sophia. Oden knew he would have been communing with demons had he attended Eucharist afterwards, so he left.  The second one was a Roman Catholic Mass that he chose not to participate in.  The last one was when he accidentally found himself in a Chinese Holiness church in New York.

Oden writes this as he is leaving liberalism (or those whom he facetiously calls “liberated”).  It reads like a memo from the battle lines.  It’s depressing but he is moving in the right direction.  He has a good discussion of modernity, postmodernity, and how the classical/patristic position can address these problems.

Those whom we call “postmoderns” are simply hyper or ultramoderns.  They haven’t challenged the key assumptions (Note: whenever someone calls himself postmodern, ask him to deconstruct human rights and democracy).  Therefore, in Oden’s case postmodern simply means “after” modernity.


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