Thursday, December 08, 2011

Book Review: Insurrection

Insurrection: To Believe Is Human, To Doubt Is DivineInsurrection: To Believe Is Human, To Doubt Is Divine by Peter Rollins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

it may take me a few days or weeks to wrap my head around Insurrection by Peter Rollins. There's a lot to digest in it or perhaps I'm just being stretched (which i will admit is a good thing).

I've read The Orthodox Heretic by Rollins and heard him speak a time or two and have always been fascinated with his art of storytelling and his fresh perspective so i found it no surprise that Insurrection drew me in from page one.

what i appreciated about this book was Rollins' ability to paint a picture of what a faith without religion looks and feels like - particularly though the lens of CRUCIFIXION and RESURRECTION.

each chapter begins with an anecdotal story (much like The Orthodox Heretic), which is Rollins' specialty. Part I deals with the Crucifixion with chapters on our rationalization of our Christian worldview, belief and doubt, religious sayings and vicarious faith. Part II deals with Resurrection with chapters on hiding from ourselves, destiny, insurrection and finishing with neither Christian nor Non-Christian.

When discussing doubt and loss (associated with the crucifixion) Rollins says:

"On the Cross, Christ is rejected by his friends, betrayed by the religious authorities, and crucified by the political leaders. We witness here, in the starkest of terms, the loss of all those structures that ground us and give us the comfort that life makes sense. More than this, Christ experiences the loss of that which grounds each of these realms - God."

Rollins suggests that forsakenness as faith exists as a central expression of one's faith, experienced in us through the Cross. "It's something that we must step into and courageously embrace."

It is through this loss, this abandonment on the Cross that Christ becomes everything we were, are or ever will be.

God is lost and found in the sorrow, in the debt.

Rollins goes on to say that our proper expression of faith is found when we cut loose from religion in the depth of our soul and experience the loss of God. Perhaps so that we may be stripped of every and all preconception, misconception, suppositions and certainties about God - thus able to see and connect with a raw form of belief. In other words - we need to rid ourselves of the 'Church as a security blanket' mentality - and embrace a faith filled with doubt, questions and disagreements. sort of an atheistic faith of sorts. stripped away. bare. exposed. real.

His stories of Mother Theresa help paint a picture of what a stripped away doubting faith looks like.

In part II (Resurrection) Rollins discusses faith, belief and practice: "our practices do not fall short of our beliefs, but are the concrete material expression of them..."

The danger for the church arises when a life of faith is reduced to a crutch - where Christ, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection becomes something we pay lip service to. (sounds all too familiar for the church in America, unfortunately).

Chapter 6 titled We Are Destiny was by far the most profound of the book. before we can understand destiny - we must proceed through a sort of spiritual death of sorts.

Just as the resurrected Christ is said to have borne the scars of the Crucifixion, so our Resurrection life will continue to bear the marks of the death we had to undergo. This new mode of living is not one in which the anxiety of death, meaninglessness, and guilt are taken away; it is one in which they are robbed of their weight and sting."

The resurrection is the embodiment of love divine. New life. rooted in God love through rebirth - victory over death... over pain... over sin... over loss... guilt, lonesomeness, etc. But each of those experiences are not extinct in love - but a part of the order of faith. We discover divine love through loving an unlovable world. God is in turn loved through the work of love itself.

God is present in said love.

Resurrection life breeds courageous freedom. This is the insurrection - an alternative vision of the world. Maintaining the status quo has no part of insurrection - what a most difficult challenge for us all.

Rollins reminds us that a better world is possible. This movement is discovered through giving up everything for God, through acts of giving up everything (including God) to the point when we become the very site of God (Resurrection life).

There is so much more for me to chew on with Insurrection. So many notes in the margins to rehash... underlined quotes to revisit as well.

I am glad i took the time to ingest this book. My hope that i'll be compelled to act upon the inspiring words within.

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