How (Not) to Speak of God
Peter Rollins: How (Not) to Speak of God, (Brewster, Ma: Paraclete Press, 2006)
I have had the good fortune to meet Peter Rollins face to face and to hear him speak so I have some sense of the person behind the book. Like many other postmodern deconstructionists, he is willed at leveling accurate criticism at the theology and practice of the contemporary church. Part of the criticism leveled doesn’t apply to the corner of the church where I live and practice my ministry because we have experienced several decades of postmodernism now, but there are definitely places where Rollins is very good and very accurate at pointing out theological inconsistencies.
What is missing from this book, not that Rollins intended it to be included) is the sense of the way forward and a sense of the nature of the emergent church. There are several services included in the volume that seem to be descriptive of a particular style of worship - al are heavily scripted and well thought out. There is, however, no real discussion of how such services can be presented in some kind of sustainable format. The meeting in the pub congregation doesn’t seem to have enough organization to provide for the quality of leadership that is required for such events to continue.
Deconstructionists, however, are not concerned with sustainability. They really aren’t concerned with offering alternatives, but rather in identifying the problems with the current powers that be. At that Rollins is willed and effective.
The book is a good read for those familiar with postmodernism and probably should be required reading for some of our colleagues who are caught up in more fundamentalist theologies.