To acknowledge my bias: I'm a fan. I like how he doesn't try to solve life's mysteries in one big system, nor tries to figure out God but rather keeps mystery, doubt and unknowing alive.
He gives an introduction to the book himself:
But who is Peter Rollins? From his website:
Actually, this book is his latest work.Peter Rollins is a widely sought after writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker. He is also the founder of ikon, a faith group that has gained an international reputation for blending live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theatre, ritual and reflection to create what they call ‘transformance art’.
Peter gained his higher education from Queens University, Belfast and has earned degrees (with distinction) in Scholastic Philosophy (BA Hons), Political Theory (MA) and Post-Structural thought (PhD). He is currently a research associate with the Irish School of Ecumenics in Trinity College, Dublin and is the author of the much talked about How (Not) to Speak of God. His most recent work is entitled The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales. He was born in Belfast but currently resides in Greenwich, CT and is employed by The Olson Foundation.
We have a deep-seated longing to confirm our desire for an ordered universe: a universe that makes sense, a universe in which we are special, valued, and eternal. And on top of it all, like the child who rationalizes her behavior, we have a deep desire to convince ourselves that we believe for reasons other than mere psychological need. Hence we will often seek out evidence to support the already existing belief and then pretend that our belief arose from the evidence. But the result is a faith that exists only at the very margins of our life, a faith that only has something to offer when we feel depressed, or scared, or when we face death. But what if someone actually enjoys life and embraces it? God as a psychological crutch would seem to have nothing to offer at all. The only option left for the apologist who is confronted by someone who actually enjoys life is to attempt to show that they are really in denial and crying out for this God in a disavowed way. If they cannot succeed in convincing the happy person that they are really unhappy, then they have nothing left to offer and must reject them as one caught up in rebellion, deception, and defiance.It is easy for us to take the experience of God’s absence as a rejection of God’s presence and either celebrate it or bemoan it, depending upon one’s position. But a properly Christological reflection should lead us to see the felt experience of God’s absence as the fundamental way of entering into the presence of God. For if being a Christian involves participating in the Crucifixion, then it means undergoing this earth-shattering loss. While various religious systems provide a place for this painful experience of unknowing (as a test, as something to endure, or something to overcome), in Christianity when one is crushed by a deep, existential loss of certainty, one finds oneself in Christ.We are able to talk passionately about the dark night of the soul without feeling it as long as the worship songs are full of light, the sermons lay bare all mysteries, and the prayers treat God as an object there to tell us it’s all going to be OK.let us imagine a worship leader coming in one Sunday and performing songs that express doubt, anger, and a sense of divine abandonment. In a healthy congregation, people would be able to enter into the honesty expressed in the music, allowing it to bring them into closer proximity with the reality of the Cross. However, if it were to evoke a deep anxiety in the congregation, then we glimpse how the regular worship at the Church is acting as a security blanket, protecting the congregation from a psychological confrontation with the Cross.The endless courses on apologetics, triumphalist music, confident prayers, and sermons of certainty don’t necessarily reflect the beliefs of the people offering them or receiving them. But everyone participates regardless, because they protect us from facing up to the anxieties of our existence. In this way much of the contemporary Church resembles a drug that prevents us from facing up to the suffering and difficulty that is part of life.