Are you familiar with the term “liquid modernity.” It helps in discerning the drift of our nation. The concept is credited to the late Polish sociologist Zygmunt Baumen, who believed the term, “postmodern” did not accurately describe what was happening in today’s world. “Liquid modernity” was more accurate in describing the constant mobility and change in relationships, identities, and global economics in contemporary society. Instead of referring to modernity and postmodernity, he saw a transition from solid modernity to a more liquid form of social life.
In liquid modernity, Os Guinness points out, “we have moved from the fixed world of tradition and identity to the fluid world of modernity, where everything always changes and nothing keeps it shape for very long.” We live in a modern liquid world where liquid lives and liquid loves are “protean,” always liable to change. The only constant is change. The only certainty is uncertainty. With the loss of spiritual and moral moorings, we experience what Guinness calls “the mudslide effect.”
Baumen maintains that we have moved from a period in which we understood ourselves as “pilgrims” in search of deeper meaning to one where we act as “tourists” in search of multiple but fleeing social experiences. Rod Dreher calls it “Nomadism,” because a general trait of the ‘liquid modern’ man is his flowing through life like a tourist, changing places, jobs, spouses, values, and sometimes more – such as political or sexual orientation – excluding himself from traditional networks of support, while also freeing himself from the restrictions or requirments those networks impose.” Are you caught in the mudslide of liquid modernity, drifting like a confused tourist, rather then a pilgrim, who knows, “here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come” (Heb 13:14).
Guinness ask, “What are the causes for the mudslide?” He identifies “the three dark Rs,.” which help us discern if we are caught in a mudslide.
First, “a radical relativizing of claims and certainties through which postmodernism reduces all truths to the level of undecidable.” If you are going to avoid the mudslide, you will have to determine in your mind what is the truth. Is your view of reality anchored in Scripture. Psalm 33: 4 proclaims, “For the word of the Lord is right and true; he is faithful in all he does,” while verse 9 tells us, “For he spoke and it came to be; he commanded and it stood firm.” Since my conversion back in 1960, I have submitted my mind to the final authority of Scripture, which reflects “objective reality.” I don’t want to get caught in the mudslide of relativism.
The second, “a range of choices, producing noncommitment and a “nonbinding preference for the moment.” I have been fortunate to have men in my life who have modeled total commitment to the Lord. They have challenged me to do that same. I intend to finish strong. I take heart in Paul’s final words to the Elder at Ephesus, “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace” (Acts 20:24).
The third, “an unprecedented rapidity of change which turns modern life into a grand liquidizer of solidities.” Is there a solid firm place for a man to stand? Yes! Years ago reading Corrie Ten Bloom’s book, “The Hiding Place” I took great comfort in Ps 32:7, “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.” In Ps 91:1 the palmist describes being able to “rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”