Social Constructionism & Narrative Therapy

Some use “postmodern” to refer to culture, and others use it to refer to “philosophy.”

Your church movement is relevant to postmodern “culture,” but not necessarily to “philosophy.”

Culture as Postmodern
Mobile relationships
Community (but not many succeed and last)

Philosophy as Postmodern
If Modernism is enlightenment thinking (locked into 2 main ways of understanding the world – logic and scientific analysis, reason and empiricism). Postmodernity is guided by an idea called Social Constructionism.

Social Constructionism is an example of an epistemology (a theory of “how we come to know things”).

In Pre-Modernism, tradition/authority/revelation were the epistemology.

In Modernism, rationalism (plato)/empiricism (aristotle). We get to truth by thinking clearly about it and reasoning it out. Empiricism is observation, experience. Scientists and Academia became the new authority, displacing, tradition, church, and culture. The new priests.

In Postmodernism, even the above is suspect. I still have to meet the evidence with my perception, and then with my interpretation. Bible is authority? Why? That’s your perception, and your interpretation. Scientific confidence wained, quantum physicists saying that what we used to call facts are just a relevant conscensus among a set of scientists for a time.

Many great and thorough studies utterly contradict one another. There is no absolute scientific truth. All the things we had confidence in, we must hold far more humbly. If that’s the case, what are we left with.

Social Constructionism

If you have your own construction of reality, you’re either a genius, schizophrenic or both.

Question 1: Does reality exist at all? (a red herring)

The Social Construction of Meaning, or Perceived Reality

A strong sense of optimism and openness – you can always get a brand new interpretation, a new way of viewing your reality.

Books: Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be (Middleton and Walsh), Postmodern Primer by Grenson, and something by Walter Truett Anderson.

Enduring Truth may be a better phrase than absolute truth. Absolute presupposes we know everything, across all time, in all cultures, in all social situations.

Enduring Truth says that there are truths that have been shown to endure and bring societal health across all time, all people in all contexts. To the postmodern mind, the language of “absolute,” speaks of “we are all-seeing, like God.”

On planet Xanadu, marriage may be different. We embrace enduring truth for earth life. The Scriptures uphold enduring truths.

For those that try to perpetuate their truth by their personal power/authority, they will realize that they’re not being heard. You have to begin to tell stories, and engage.

Social Constructionism is the dominant view in the social sciences right now.

Foucault: Every act of declared knowing is an act of oppression against someone else.

Things The Church Had To Learn From Culture In The 20th Century

* How to treat women better
* How to treat the environment better
* MLK had to learn non-violent protest through Ghandi (who learned it from Jesus)

We’ve been forced, by the culture to examine the truth’s that we’ve believed, that we held to because we listened well to our authority’s but could not articulate it to our co-worker, and to become better tellers of stories.

Passion is a very positive part of the arsenal.


If a miracle happened tonight, what would be different when you woke up?
Michael White and David Weston (affected by Foucault).

“How to get people to describe their problem-saturated story,” then to relative-ize it, undermine it.

* Collaborative stance of therapist (we’re working together)
* Hopeful tone
* A non-blaming focus (first wave blamed you, the next blamed your family, now it blames the culture)

A Motto: The person is never the problem; the problem is the problem. (That is not “I’m okay; you’re okay.” Process of externalising, is close to deliverance.)

How many miracles would you need this week to make everything in your life okay?

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