If you or I agreed with everything Peter Rollins says, then probably we hadn’t been listening long or closely enough. Yet he’s a man who often says things that resonate, they may actually shatter glass in some quarters. I love this short interview and wouldn’t mind having a transcript to underline and reference.
Normally, I would quote a teaser or two. I just don’t know where to begin. There’s the story about Hitler serving milk and cookies (okay, something like that), or the part about how he would be a liar if he claimed to believe in Jesus Christ. His message is disturbing for anyone inside the box of traditional Christianity, but it’s a breath of fresh air for those who are ditching the box or at least thinking about it.
Who are you? What do you want of me? These are the two questions Mack had for God his first night in The Shack.
I recently started reading The Shack again, and these questions struck a chord. It wasn’t until recently that I really began asking the first question. I always thought I knew who God was. God was God, the one listening when I prayed, the One and only who was there whenever I closed my eyes to pray. That was the strangest part. It seemed like I could summon and dismiss God whenever I wanted. Easy. And I knew prayer formulas that always worked, guaranteed, if my heart was right (a big “if” if I suppose). The most important prayer formulas were for forgiveness and salvation.
The formula to pray for forgiveness sometimes went like this:
1. Stop everything. 2. Cue inner dramatic music, gather feelings of regret and perhaps shed a tear. 3. Close eyes and say something like: “LORD God, forgive me for (details go here). Thank you. You are so great. In Jesus’ name. Love, and so on. Amen.” 4. Turn the TV back on, etc. (The whole ritual can be done, with a …
Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ.
Then I continued to read:
I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.
However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.
I love his honesty as he cuts right to the substance of “belief.” I confess: me, too. I am often led about by fears or preoccupied with myself, because …
Are you shedding your religion but holding onto your faith? There is a significant and documented trend of Christians in the West distancing themselves from the religion but still following Jesus. Many say separating from religion has reinvigorated their journey with Jesus. They want to follow Jesus in reality and live beyond pretense. They reject being labeled, manipulated by controlling leaders, used politically, etc.
Some even reject the label “Christian,” because it has been loaded with so many connotations that have nothing to do with following and trusting Christ.
Are you one of them? Or does this touch an itch you’ve been wanting to scratch.
Jim Palmer describes some symptoms of moving off the religion reservation. Maybe you can relate to some or all of them.
1. You don’t go to church anymore.
2. You are reading some really weird books.
3. You are in danger of going off the deep end.
4. You can’t give a straight answer.
My favorite is #4, since I’m prone to being perceived that way. Here’s a taste from point #3:
Perhaps one of the most annoying things (to those who judge them) about people who are shedding religion is that they begin thinking