Dave's Reviews > How (Not) to Speak of God: Marks of the Emerging Church

How (Not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins
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Apr 20, 11


I have to admit that I've often found Peter Rollins' high-intensity talks to be a bit annoying, so I was surprised by how well he writes. The prose in this book is tight, and Rollins does quite a job of walking the epistemic tightrope. I found his insights on colonizing the name of God and concealment being built into revelation to be refreshing and illuminating. Holding a doctorate in post-modern theory, while perhaps a bit of an oxy-moron, does qualify Rollins to critique western conceptions of reason and truth, and I enjoyed the joke about Jesus interviewing the recently deceased on the state of their doctrine. The book also has some helpful and sometimes disturbing challenges, such as living in the context of Holy Saturday, or understanding truth not as that which can be described but that through which we transform reality. On the other hand, Rollins' emphasis on doubt, while useful, can go a bit too far. While doubt is clearly an important part of faith that cannot and should not be ignored, Rollins' philosophy and liturgical services sometimes place an undue emphasis on expressions of doubt and shy away from unqualified expressions of faith. Sometimes one wonders whether the priority is genuine reflection or a predisposition toward controversy (or, at minimum, tendency to avoid anything that contains the slightest hint of traditionalism). Overall a thought-provoking and worthwhile read that can serve the dual function of critiquing rigid definitions of God while also helping locate the line where a doubt-enhanced faith dissolves into pure doubt.
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