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