Friday, August 22, 2008

Thoroughly [Post]modern Clifford (UPDATED)

Clifford Goldstein is quite a character. An avowed atheistic Jew, he gave up everything (that is, swallowed a bit of pride) to become an Adventist, he says. Now, Goldstein is the church's foremost apologist as editor of the adult Sabbath School Quarterly (re-dubbed Adult Bible Study Guide). He also writes books. About dragons and graffitti in the Holy of Holies.

The full title is Graffiti in the Holy of Holies: An impassioned response to recent attacks on the sanctuary and Ellen White. Huh?

Recently, Clifford Goldstein did an interview with the Adventist Church's Centre for Secular and Postmodern Studies ( Now can I just note something that strikes me as ironic? Goldstein was a secular Jew, though I doubt he was ever thoroughly postmodern. But reading his stuff and listening to the guy talk, you get the sense that he would not feel very at home within ten miles of a real-life postmodernist, even though it seems he reads postmodern writers in order to disagree with them.

While he has a loosened tie and messed up hair giving the impression that he's going for the postmodern look, Goldstein is a modernist, through and through. He says so in his interview.

While studying secular and postmodern people is laudable (and it's about time the Adventist Church did so!), Sorry to tell you guys, but Cliff doesn't qualify. So far, the attempts at being edgy and current seem to have amounted to traditional Adventist talking points dressed up with a postmodern hairdo.

But we have to start somewhere.

Screen shots from Cliff's thoroughly [Post]modern interview with re:frame
Cliff fired back with this email, posted by permission:
Love your stuff, even when you make fun of me. My only complaint is that who has made me the SDA voice for post modernism? Certainly not me. And, yes, I have never claimed to be post modern. Though aspects of it I like, even very much—I reject its foundation premise (if post modernism can have one) which is a rejection of any meta-narrative. Yes, I’m not a post modern but wonder where you got the idea that I was or ever claimed to be, however much I enjoy reading it (and I don’t read it to refute it; I read it to get what I can out of it while rejecting what I don’t agree with) Your stuff is funny, if not exactly unbiased.. Cliff

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