From Modernity to Post Modernity by car

mber.jpg Mark Berry, Emerging church Sensei and Vespa straddled Prophet blogs over at Way out West, and I always enjoy his musings! I thought this piece using Top Gear (anarchic, laddish Motoring programme) as a reflection on Post Modern paradigm shift was brilliant (and useful).
“1. TG was once a typical/standard car programme… reviewing cars on the usual criteria, value for money, handling, economy, horsepower etc. but in the end it proved way to structured and repetitive for the British public… so, it changed its critical model from a process to immediacy … “what does it feel like to drive?”, one flaw in a cars “feeling” will negate all the stats and figures etc. that make it good on paper … echoing the shift from rationalism to experimentalism and indeed experientialism!
2. TG was once a format show for people who wanted to know more about cars… car geeks and potential buyers… yawn! So it changed itself from boring reviews to anarchic play… see this weeks fun for example… as the “Prodigal Project” says… One of the defining characteristics of the emerging culture is a light-handed playfulness… the motive is one of frolicking in forbidden fields… New technology is regarded by many in the emerging culture not so much as instrumental to scientific or industrial progress, but more as helpful in playing better games.
3.TG has changed from the culture of “driving gloves” and whether boot (trunk) capacity is big enough for a suitcase or a set of golf clubs to one where celebrities thrash a “reasonably priced car” to destruction around a race track… again “The Prodigal Project” says… Postmodern culture is very much in-your-face; loud, fast and aggressive. It doesn’t allow withdrawal to some secure buffer zone of reflection or analysis.
4. TG has abandoned a “points out of 100” evaluation model to an audience vote on whether a particular car is “Cool” or not… based on entirely subjective criteria… evidencing the abandonment of the “myth of objectivity”… reinforced by the light hearted arguments between presenters over the respective merits of a car, which in turn shows a rejection of linearity and propositional truth in favour of a plurality of truths based on personal experience/opinion ……… “

read the rest here

11 Replies to “From Modernity to Post Modernity by car”

  1. This is a really interesting piece. Thanks. However, I am quite interested in the biography and “big-up” you give Mark. It left me thinking.
    Were prophets really trendy and relevant to their context? As far as i can tell, most biblical were pretty unpopular and the antithesis of what was deemed cool. Also what they said/mused did not fit with the establishment.
    Therefore i am left with two conclusions.
    1. What is being said is not really prophetic (not my preferred choice)
    2. You are also a prophet! (defo!)

  2. Interesting point. But I would say we need to differentiate between the message and the method of delivery.
    I would say that the method was pretty cool and culturally relevent (they would often ‘act out’ their message in what was probably a low-literacy culture that understood more what they saw than what they heard).
    It was the message that was unpopular – at least with authority figures (can’t think of any examples of a crowd or population response).
    Lesson for the church: The delivery method does not invalidate the message. You can present ‘an inconvenient truth’ in a way that is accessible to the masses (but will still annoy those at the top).

  3. Interesting thoughts… I’m grateful to Ian for the link etc. TBH I’ve never claimed to be a prophet, nor do I “try” to be trendy… to me it is about living authentically in terms of who I am, what I believe in and what I feel God is calling me to say and do. I guess though Prophets are just as likely (if not more so) to have a message for the religious establishment than the wider community, they called the religious community to turn away from their synchretistic living and turn back to living with God… if that is the case, then what we are saying doesn’t fit with the religious culture, nor is what we are saying that “popular” with the establishment (I don’t mean the “robed and mitred” establishment but the leaders of Christian culture.

  4. …On the subject of which: Perhaps the reason the church does not experience more persecution is because our message may be prophetic, but its delivered in such a culturally irrelevent way that nobody cares. ?

  5. Oooopps, didn’t mean to make life too complicated by my quasi-tongue-in-cheek descriptor for Mark 🙂 I do however think that Mark and others like him working as ministers outside of the established set-up do have an important prophetic voice that the Church (us) need to be listening to.
    I also think that it’s great that Mark is more Vespa than he is Vespers

  6. Out of the mildest “quasi-tongue-in-cheek descriptors” the most interesting discussions start.
    The biggest challenge for us all is to listen!

  7. They do indeed. I have confess, I actually missed the first line of Miz’ first post. So I was thinking of prophecy in terms of the prophetic role of the church, in relation to the TG analogy. Rather than Mark’s specificrole as a Prophet (or indeed Sensei).

  8. First time blogging so might take time to get the hang of it.Really good article TG. Comments interesting. I think that TG have reached the youth culture dead on, my teenage boys sit glued to the telly, laughing continually through the program, while I shuffle papers in the background, tutting at the infuriatingly stupidity of the program.( Do I sound Bigotted?) My thirteen year old finds our skoda ‘Octavia’embarassing because Jeremy Clarkson said it was ‘not cool’ its so good we decided against ‘the Multipla’ four years ago when we bought the car! At that time nievely we only considered the ‘value’ and ‘economy’ of the vehicle and the Multipla have the edge on the Octavia because it had a removable seat, it also looked a bit like a people carrier.

  9. Thanks for the welcome. Daren’t look until now, its like writing a poem for the first time and worrying its ok. But now I am getting the hang of it,by Easter I will sorted.

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