The current installment of the COEC began meeting in 2007.

We are currently on a "break," for no particular reason, and many little reasons - mostly pertaining to life circumstances. If anyone is interested in calling a meeting, feel free to post on the blog, join the google group (see link below) and send an email, or contact either Nancy (nancykj10@yahoo.com) or Jesse (schroeder.jesse@gmail.com) for more information.

To receive cohort emails, join our Google group.


Reflections on Rollins

I've been surveying a lot of Peter Rollins lately, in part because he has been putting a lot out on the web, and also in anticipation of him visiting the cohort next week. I just watched the YouTube video above, and it reminded me of several themes and questions I've been rolling around in my own head an in my classroom for a few months now.

Last year I read a chapter of Shane Claiborne's "Irresistible Revolution" with a senior class, and we came across the question he takes from Tony Campolo, "Would you still be a Christian if there was no heaven or hell?" I find it to be such a compelling question - one that strips away all of my ulterior motives and gets the real heart of what I am doing as a Christian, and more importantly, why I am doing it.

When I read "Fidelity of Betrayal" last May, I was fascinated by the idea of God being an event that shakes up my world and causes me to desire more and to desire to explore. Rollins talks about God as the eruption of a volcano - he says, "Revelation enters our world as a wound of unknowing. It ruptures our present in the guise of an eschatological 'to come.' ... we do not encounter a revelation that makes God manifest, nor a revelation that places God at an absolute distance; rather, God's distance is maintained in overwhelming presence." (pgs. 121, 123)

In the YouTube clip above, Rollins compares this idea to a ship in the bottom of the ocean - the ocean contains all of the ship but the ship only has part of the ocean. I also think about the overwhelming presence of the mountains we saw in Utah - they are right in your face, right in front of you, but yet their magnitude makes them feel so far away, so distant and other worldly. Even when you are literally on top of the mountain (wondering how your little snowboard will carry you down), you are most in awe of the magnitude, and you feel the most overwhelmed.

When I listen to and read Rollins work, I'm challenged to think about God more as an encounter, a relationship, a living and inspiring being, and less like the list of doctrinal ins and outs that separate and make me better than the person next to me. It also makes me think of a God that is much bigger than my experience; a God that is rupturing all over the world at any given point.

Now playing: Thursday - Between Rupture And Rapture


Greg said...

Well-said, Jesse. I love the idea of God rupturing all over the world all the time. And those mountains are such a fitting image for God's "overwhelmingness."

Scot said...

Hey Jesse,
thanks for that post. Wow, it sparked a number of things in me. Like I mentioned to you Sunday, Mary has never experienced the awe of real mountains like the Rockys. They are so vast, so overwhelming and so spectacular all you can do is gape at them when you first come near to them. It's not easy to describe to someone who has never experienced it. Hopefully I can talk her into a beachless vacation someday, ha! You quote P.R. "God's distance is maintained in overwhelming presence". I have this memory of family vacations as a child. We often went west to see the natural wonders America has to offer. We drove and camped. So my memory is of countless hours in the back seat of a station wagon peering at the western horizon which is quite flat and boring for a very long time. But when you get about half way through Kansas or Nebraska (depending on where you're going) the Rockys start to appear on that horizon. At first they (snow caped peaks)look like a bank of low lying clouds. Gradually they creep higher and higher as you roll on. The point is that you can see them for a very very long time before their inherent majesty and magnitude are as you said "right in your face". Honestly, when I was a kid it seemed like we could see them for days before we got to them. But once we got to them all the agony of the back seat was forgotten because the whole car load of Ohio "hicks":) was busy gaping and being in awe of them. Then all too soon vacation would be over and the mountains would fade away in the rear view mirror. Sadly the impact of their presence would dwindle and we'd settle back into mid-west geography. Seems like a picture of what I've often done in my spiritual life. The old mountain top vs the valley routine. The P.R. take really resonate with me though! Allow God to be an event rather than a destination. Not a fixed point that I try to get to but rather a happening that sends recurring waves or after shocks of His overwhelming presence into my seemingly mundane (remember the back seat)daily life. Which means my journey is more about being a receptor rather than a vehicle on a mission to get to Him. He's so vast that even if I could be there on top of the mountain with or without a snowboard I would not be able to fathom Him. Why not rather be open to encountering and engaging with the "God event after shocks" that come rolling my way? Sure they may reveal only a small aspect of His over all majesty (all the ocean my sunken ship can contain) but trusting that He's bringing my way the ones He deems needful for my experience is somehow life giving.

Here is a link for a photo I came across this morning.


Depending on how large you can make it you can see a city or large town that sits at the foot of this spectacular mountain range. I imagine it would be quite easy to take the majesty of those mountains for granted if we called that city "home" don't you think? It kinda represents the place we wind up in when we do the whole destination thing. "I've got a reservation in heaven"..."ticket is punched"...I'm thinking about your "Irresistible Revolution" reference now. I'm so close to the mountains that in time they lose their luster and I lose my bearings...Christ changed me to make a difference here! Tony Campolo's question is indeed "compelling"!

another mountain photo, not sure what this perspective says to me in this context...hmmm? http://www.flickr.com/photos/perimar5/2446462136/in/pool-magic_moments


NancyJ said...

Peter Rollins’ books have been wonderfully challenging. They help me to think of God in a much different way--to put aside my stereotyped images of God.

Again and again I’ve wanted to round up my ideas, expectations and beliefs of God and put them back into a nice, neat workable package. And how often I have sought God through a variety of experiences or goals always convincing myself this is the key. Basically, I’m trying too hard to make my life with God “work.”

So perhaps it is better to allow God to make a single idea or event into whatever it will become (even if it becomes nothing at all). To this I wholeheartedly agree with Scott’s sentiment…”trusting that He's bringing my way the ones He deems needful for my experience is somehow life giving.”

I am a breath away from taking the simple
and making it complex.

Philosophies tread with lumbering steps careful of
edges and boundaries; so sluggishly they move.

A single idea; though it may falter, leaps to possibilities
creating its own dance step by beautiful step.

Freed from the necessity of belonging,
becoming partner to my rhythm.

Nancy Jarosi