Like so many conservatives, I was initially very hostile to post-modern thinking and its impact on everything from the study of history, contemporary culture and faith to politics and the arts. But as I have read more and come to understand the wide implications of some (and I stress some) of its insights, I have developed a more nuanced view.
And I think reading and interacting with different points of view is important. And one of the authors who has stretched my views and offered a different perspective is Peter Rollins. His book How (Not) To Speak of God was an interesting and though provoking work that was probably dismissed by too many because of its style and perspective.
Rollins has a new book out (Insurrection: To Believe Is Human To Doubt, Divine) which prompted me to read an older book The Orthodox Heretic: And Other Impossible Tales. Here is the publisher’s blurb:
So might any Christian say for whom faith functions like a comfortable chair and a lot of good will. If you are comfy and satisfied, then what you have might not be faith after all, explains Peter Rollins.
Christian faith only has meaning if it affects the ways that people live their lives. For many who are not Christians, critiquing Christianity from the outside, this sort of ‘faith’ appears all-too common and is an easy target. Perhaps Christians are simply those possessed of an ideology that keeps them passive, childlike, and ineffectual, they seem to think.
Rollins has crafted a series of parables that shatter these realities and popular perceptions. Parables that demonstrate how genuine faith is radical—and has never been concerned with escaping the world we inhabit, but rather, with engaging in it more fully. That genuine Christian faith has never capitulated to injustice but rather fought against it at every turn. In opposition to those who would claim that Christian faith embraces God at the expense of the suffering world, Peter shows how the true believer embraces God only inasmuch as he fully embraces a needy world.
Let me repeat a cliché I use often here: your reaction to this book will depend a great deal on what you bring to it (in terms of attitude, your spiritual and philosophical perspective, etc.). I come from a very different background and worldview than Rollins but I find it worthwhile to read him nonetheless. Others mileage may vary.