Tag Archives: metanarrative

Why do postmoderns need saints? Sometimes we just need to hear stories


It’s hard to believe that my first book has been out for nearly a year. Though that quixotic measure of success, my Amazon sales ranking, has lately tumbled into the doldrums, I’ve been told the book will be given as a graduation gift this year to students in various Bethel Seminary programs and locations. How nice! And people around here are still regularly stopping me to tell me about their favorite bits. That’s a precious dividend for a five years’ investment of research and writing. It gives me a little lift as I work on the next book.

Back in August ’09 when Patron Saints for Postmoderns came out, CT editor David Neff gave me the opportunity to think out loud on the CT history blog about why I think reading the stories of dead Christians matters to the faithful in this “postmoderrn” 21st century. This was my response:

Why do postmoderns need saints?

Sometimes we just need to hear stories.

by Chris Armstrong

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Well, it really exists now. My first book (beyond the dissertation, which is a whole different animal). It’s called Patron Saints for Postmoderns (InterVarsity Press), and it was midwifed by my unfailingly patient and encouraging editor, Cindy Bunch. I will spare readers the usual excited yelps and smug self-back-patting of the first-time author. But CT editor and co-blogger David Neff has invited me to talk a bit about the book this week, so I will.

David said I might ask and answer a question like this: Why do postmoderns need saints?

Well, many of us may not feel like it (many of my students don’t), but we’re all postmoderns, I suppose: We live in a secularized age in which all traditions, commitments, codes of life have been exploded and the bits lie scattered over our psychic landscape. The church hasn’t escaped this holocaust of traditions either, of course, and our church lives have a ramshackle, cobbled-together feel too. Continue reading