Monday, July 02, 2007


Well, I'd like to come back to Rollins finally, in an exploration of his second chapter of How (Not) to Speak of God. As I write I'm listening to Ryan Adam's Easy Tiger and on the advice of Jonny Baker I've also picked up Sinead O'Connor's newest titled Theology. Both are tremendous albums and I highly recommend them! I've never owned or really listened to Sinead O'Connor much, but I'm really blown away by the content of this double album.

So Rollins' second chapter is titled "The Aftermath of Theology" and in this chapter he seems to be describing the role and view of theology in light of previous chapter's critique of ideology and the notion that we can somehow capture or colonize God through our ideas of God. He proposes that we see ourselves as the object of theology where theology is created through our lives as God speaks into them. Theology is less a human discourse about God where we debate ideas and notions of God; instead, theology is the place where God speaks into human life and discourse. Rollins goes on to write of theology:

"It is no longer thought of as a human discourse that speaks of God but rather as the place where God speaks into human discourse. In other words, theology is understood as the site in which revelation makes its appearance in the world, the place in which theos (God) impacts, and overwhelms, the human realm of logos (reason). Consequently we do not do theology but are rather overcome and transformed by it: we do not master it but are mastered by it (pg. 21)."

So in this view of theology, the traditional modes of the relationship are subverted and redefined. God is now the subject unto which all of creation and humanity are object to. This helps us immensely to be free from the temptation and task from trying to reduce God into an object for our consideration. "God is not a theoretical problem to somehow resolve but rather a mystery to be participated in." (pg. 22) This is such a freeing notion to me that I need not worry or think that it is somehow of my ability to comprehend God as God really though if i just read the Bible enough or studied enough, or could just "get it right" then I would be able to reach a new level or plane in knowing God. Instead, in this journey of faith, theology becomes the mystical union and exploration of the revelation of God in my own life and the life of my community as God works among us.

I'm going to stop here in Chapter 2 and start next where Rollins talks about God as "hyper-present" because I think that this is one of the most important concepts in the book that discusses how God is present with us in revelation.


Tim said...

I used to know a Sinead O'Connor joke, but I can't remember it...

I really like "God is not a theoretical problem to somehow resolve but rather a mystery to be participated in." That IS a very freeing thought.

Josh said...

please come back with the joke whenever you get a chance dude.

i like that part of the book a lot too Tim. i wonder what it would be like to participate in the mystery of God rather than in always trying to figure out how to 'solve the problem of God'?