Book Review: Insurrection by Peter Rollins
Peter Rollins is my pastor. Well, not really (I don't live in Ireland or Connecticut). I don't go to church. But he's my pastor in the way that Alan Sherouse is. Or Ann Pittman is. Or plenty of other friends, mentors, and luminaries are that inform my spirituality and my worldview. In short, Rollins' thoughts on religion are always challenging and intelligent, and usually revolutionary. His newest work, Insurrection, is spot on. Much like his earlier books, he uses contradiction to frame his hypothesis and then takes the reader on a very heady journey to arrive at a place of new thought. Also a master storyteller, Rollins uses narrative to back up his rational argument so that you're never bored or knee-deep in academic jargon. Thankfully, he always grounds his perspective in reality. For him, theology must be lived, tested in the mire and fire of everyday life.
This is why I love to read every word he writes.
He thesis for Insurrection is simple: Christianity, from its very beginning, is a protest against religion. Abandonment is at the core of this very communal faith. And, doubt is the strongest expression of belief.
Rollins is uniquely able to use these seeming contradictions to paint a picture of Jesus and Christianity that is authentic. He takes what appear to be conflicting statements and weaves them together in a way that will enlighten or strengthen anyone's religious beliefs. And at the end of the book, you're simply left wondering why in the world you didn't question the "foundations" of your faith long ago.
To give to someone in need can make us feel good. We can even gain much more than we give in these situations. But what if our real job is not to give to those who are poor but to help create a world where the poor do not exist?
What if the Church should be less concerned with creating saints than creating a world where we do not need saints? A world where people like Mother Teresa and MLK would have nothing to do.
Peter Rollins, Insurrection, pages 142-143