One of the things I really like about being back in academia is that you never know who is going to show up. Yesterday a friend told me that Peter Rollins was going to be at a church in the Dallas area on Sunday. I began digging around to try to find out if there was any way that I might be able to connect with him while he was in the area to get some guidance on my paper for philosophy of religion on the philosophical foundations of the emergent conversation… I discovered that he would be in a class at Perkins at 10am and he was gracious enough to meet with me for about thirty minutes afterwards to discuss my interests.
Rollins is nearly the perfect person for me to have met because he is a philosopher and he is a part of the emerging conversation. He also is the author of a book that several people had recommended to me as a very important book for me to read for my paper: How (Not) to Speak of God. He has subsequently written The Fidelity of Betrayal: Toward a Church Beyond Belief.
The timing of his visit, from my perspective, could not have been any better.
Here are a few of many arresting statements he made in his lecture this morning:
- The rule of the leader is to refuse to be a leader. The priest refuses the priesthood so they can insist on the priesthood of all believers.
- If you seek God becasue you seek meaning, you are seeking meaning not God.
- Sometimes the things that we think are making a difference are the very things that keep us from making a difference. (This was one of the main ideas that he spent quite a lot of time fleshing out. He pointed to things like working at a soup kitchen as a possible way of allowing us to do some good which can actually serve to make us more comfortable with not actually changing. Or talking about how superficial fashion is, while nevertheless shopping for fashionable clothes.)