Thursday, March 12, 2009

Good Stuff From Peter Rollins

Here is a good quote from Peter Rollins an Irish Emergent leader:
At one point in the proceedings someone asked if my theoretical position led me to denying the Resurrection of Christ. This question allowed me the opportunity to communicate clearly and concisely my thoughts on the subject, which I repeat here.

Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…

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.

Another good post from Peter Rollins:

Fundamentalism isn’t too violent, it isn’t violent enough

The title for this post comes from the title of one of the talks I have been giving on the ‘Lessons’ tour. The main gist of the argument lies in exploring how the fundamentalism we witness at work today is, at its core, a movement that conserves and preserves the status quo. Its violence at the subjective level (e.g. defending the evils of misogyny, homophobia, unjust conflicts and self-interested foreign policy) is the direct outworking of its ultimate impotence when it comes to instigating real change.

Take the example of so many wars today. Amidst all their violence they are more often than not fought in order to preserve the way things are, to protect people in power, or to accumulate more resources. Thus their horrific violence at the subjective level hides the fact that they preserve the deeper objective violence of the system itself. The bloodshed thus helps to maintain the injustice that currently exists, ensuring that structures of oppression remain unchallenged.

In the same way fundamentalism, while violent at a surface level (at the level of everyday life) is simply a mask that hides the fact that it does not rock the very foundations of worldly power. Its frantic posturing and aggression is ultimately in the service of those with power, money, and voice. In this way their various highly funded projects designed to change society actually ensure that nothing of any significance really changes (those who are oppressed continue to be oppressed, the rich continue to get richer, the poor continue to get poorer).

Let us not then attack such a position for being too violent (apart from anything else, this is what such a movement thrives on; seeing itself as the church militant), rather we must pull back the curtain and show the impotent wizard for who it really is.

In contrast to fundamentalism it is people like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King who, in their pacifism, are truly violent (who are the true church militant). In their non-participation and uncompromising actions they lived out an alternative vision of how the world could work, directly challenging the foundations of worldy power. In their seductive vision of an alternative world and their unrelenting quest to pursue it they ruptured the systems of power that surrounded them and thus expressed the true violence of Christianity. A violence that shifts the underground by allowing the outsider to be heard.

Thus, the next time we hear of some blustering speaker attempt to bolster their support by making themselves sound like the follower of a cage-fighting, bodybuilding Jesus, we should avoid the trap of arguing that their image of Jesus is too violent and instead show how it isn’t nearly violent enough. Drawing out how, amidst all their seeming machismo they are little more than a timid sheep in wolves clothing.

Tags: Fundamentalism, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa, Peter Rollins, violence, Zizek

This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 10th, 2009 at 7:03 pm and is filed under Reflection. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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