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Paperback How (Not) to Speak of God Book

ISBN: 1557255059

ISBN13: 9781557255051

How (Not) to Speak of God

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Book Overview

With sensitivity to the Christian tradition and a rich understanding of postmodern thought, Peter Rollins argues that the movement known as the "emerging church" offers a singular, unprecedented message of transformation that has the potential to revolutionize the theological and moral architecture of Western Christianity.
How (not) to Speak of God sets out to explore the theory and praxis of this contemporary expression of faith. Rollins offers...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Here is the meat!

There are a lot of books that belong to the emergent conversation (even if they claim not to). Books raising questions and awakening a new type of christianity. But just a few (and I mean a few) get to the bottom of things. Wrestling without fear with theology, just as those men in the Bible would with God. If you would like to read a book that tackles the essence (magically grasped, because something that is alive is constantly changing) of the emergent theology, this would be the one. It's not an easy read but it is short. My advise would be this: This book is like an adventure. You might start being afraid in the middle of it. But don't run back, run forward! You will find that safety is not where you came from but where you are going to.

Laborious, but worth it

"How (Not) to Speak of God" is a difficult, difficult read. It is dense, packed with theological terms old and new and intensely circuitous. But the points it makes are supremely important, ushering in a new era in thinking about Christianity. Peter Rollins, the author, effectively bridges the divide between Christianity and postmodern thought. His thesis, in essence, is that the two ways of thinking do not cancel each other out. Just because Christianity isn't universally true and can't be proved, doesn't mean it doesn't contain some level of truth and important meaning. In short, if we know we can know nothing conclusively about God, then even what we reject may in fact be true. What's important is that we not force, by authority or obligation, either the affirmation or denial of God. In fact, we do God injustice if we try to prove his reality or define him completely. What emerges out of this is Rollins' requirement that Christianity, or really any type of religion, be organic, uncertain and aware of doubt. But this Christianity is alive, fluid and authentic, in contrast to many forms of Christianity found today. It's an extremely complex and subtle argument, which I'm probably not doing nearly enough justice to here. But trust me: it's eye-opening and extremely significant. The services in the second half of the book are not as essential nor as impressive as the philosophy presented in the first half, but it is interesting to see how the ideas are played out in practice.

creative, insightful, prophetic

i don't say this lightly: this is one of the best books i've read on the emerging church (and i've read my share). i was blown away by pete's ability to explain things in both ways both articulate and not sounding like a ticked-off child of evangelicalism, yearning for a break from his past. i admit, a good chunk of what has been written in the emerging church world has that ring to it -- and this doesn't. some of that, i'm guessing, is pete's non-american-ness. and some of it, i'm guessing, is his credible academic chops. when another emerging church writer wrote we're heretics, it comes across like a emerging church version of a "god hates fags" poster -- confrontational and positioning. but when pete articulates it, the words are hopeful and honest. since others have described the book in detail, i'll not do so here. just shortly: the first half is a philosophical/theological treatise proposing nothing short of a new christian worldview. it's not new liberalism (as some call the emerging church). how can a deep love of the divine jesus and the power of god's word in scripture be called new liberalism -- those (and other things) were the very things classical liberalism was working to debunk. then, the second half of the book walks through ten or so liturgies from the community pete helps lead in belfast (ikon). i'd known this was the layout prior to reading the book, and thought the second half might be a cop-out, filler, or just too weird. it's anything but. it's the practical outplay of the first half of the book, as rendered by one particular gathering of believers (albiet, a group that meets in a bar in belfast). the second half of the book puts flesh on the first half. pete's writing is right at the threshold of my understanding at times -- his brain is clearly more trained and his bookshelves weightier than mine. but i could hold on, and i'm glad i did. i'll be recommending this book over and over and over again, i'm sure.

A hopeful vision of Christianity's future

"How (Not) to Speak of God" is one of the most thought-provoking and hope-filled books I've ever read. I know I will read this book over and over. Ever since reading it, the content of this book has been transforming me in so many ways. The book is divided into two parts. The first part is the theoretical portion of the book and basically proposes a new way of believing. Speaking as a practitioner and philosopher within the "emerging church," Rollins proposes that this revolution occurring within the Church is not a revolution of WHAT we believe but instead HOW we believe. The second part of the book, which by itself would have been worth the price of the book, is a description of ten different services, Rollins calls them "theodramas," from Rollins' faith community in Belfast, which is called IKON. These ten services help to bring the first half of the book into the practical expression of a faith community. In short, this book spurred my imagination to picture a Christianity for tomorrow's world. And the picture Rollins presents is one that brings me great hope.
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