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Featured Book: How (Not) to Speak of God


“…we ought to affirm our view of God,” Peter Rollins writes in this 2006 book, “while at the same time realizing that that view is inadequate. Hence we act both as theist and atheist….”

It’s such affirmations that leads The Evangelical Liberal web-writer, in a book review, to reckon, “In a series of deliberately paradoxical statements, Rollins turns established conceptions of theology, orthodoxy, even Christianity and faith, on their heads.” Now this is, as Publishers Weekly certifies, a “powerful, but frustratingly opaque book,” and its “dense prose will limit its audience”; but it’s, as well, a “must-read account of emerging theology,” the Quaker website Gathering in Light concludes, which “will be a primary text for all churches in modernity.”

The 45-year-old Rollins—who holds degrees in scholastic philosophy, political theory, social criticism, and post-structural theory—has become a prominent figure in radical theology. From Belfast, he founded there the experimental community “ikon”—it speaks of itself as being iconic, apocalyptic, heretical, emerging, and failing—to explore and promote favourite themes: for example, he views faith, Wikipedia notes, as “a type of life in which one is able to celebrate doubt, ambiguity, and complexity, while deepening care and concern for the world.”

How (Not) to Speak of God, by Peter Rollins

Paraclete Press, 2006