About four weeks ago, Theo Geyser introduced me to Peter Rollins — unfortunately not personally, he just mentioned his latest book. At home, I immediately took a look at Peter’s blog. One of the first posts I read, as it caught my eye and resonated with my ways and thoughts:
It is a parable. And many atheists’ conditioned knee-jerk responses may have them fuming at simply reading that title, which is understandable. But they would be mistaken, as Peter isn’t an evangelical fundie, he’s a trained philosopher. And he’s exploring particularly interesting ideas…
Of most interest to me, also in the process of better understanding Peter’s views and thoughts, were the comments below that post. Good reading… Here I am reproducing one of his last couple of comments in its entirety, I hope he doesn’t mind:
Thanks for the post. I actually write a chapter on the miraculous in Fidelity of Betrayal. But that dodges your question slightly as it tries to shift focus away from spectacle toward miracle as metanoia. Having said that I have indeed been direct witness to a whole host of interesting things which defy easy interpretation (some very very interesting). For me, my move away from the Charismatic tradition was not because I was stifled by it or because I never saw it working in peoples lives but rather because I wanted to step beyond what I considered to be a confusion between the idea of the ‘God of the philosophers’ and the ‘God of faith’.
It may sound strange but I place all things that look like divine intervention into the God of the philosophers category. This means that they potentially lend credibility to the idea of a God ‘out there’. They can be used as part of the philosophical debate and personally keep me sympathetic to the idea of God as ‘out there’. This idea is affirmed many times within the bible and throughout the Christian tradition (I am not using the term ‘God of the philosophers’ as a slag here, but rather as a description).
However, for me the ‘God of faith’, is the one we affirm as the name of our transformation, the happening of metanoia. These two ideas (’God of philosophers’, and ‘God of faith’) might link up but they also don’t need to and can’t be connected philosophically. In other words, someone could affirm the God of faith and yet question the God of the philosophers – indeed this is the position I defend throughout my work as the most fertile and potent one (and the one which is expressed by many within ikon).
The God of faith is affirmed in the testimony, ‘I was blind but now I see’, while the God of the philosophers is affirmed in, ‘X points toward the idea of a first cause’. The relationship between these is not simple and I am keen make sure they don’t blur to much at the expense of the former.
You will, if you know him, see the hand of Pascal at work here! Also I should mention that there is nothing to stop a Charismatic from embracing this idea and I am sure many in fact do. Indeed I would want this expression of faith to have a place within the emerging stuff – but that place will be very different than what you see with people like Tod Bentley et. al.
Hope thats useful
Following all that, I simply couldn’t help it: I ordered both books he has out already. They’re lying here next to me. They are How (Not) to Speak of God (amazon, kalahari) and The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief (amazon, kalahari) — see the Amazon links for reviews and overviews. (Pity they’ll have to wait a while… I have two books on “high priority”.)
With regards to “What is God?”, I believe I share Peter Rollins’ take: I’m much more interested in the “God of faith”, which Peter nicely defines as “the one we affirm as the name of our transformation, the happening of metanoia”.
Let the discussion begin… thoughts, experiences (of conditioned knee-jerk reactions, e.g.), questions?