A Deep And Sustained Questioning Arises – 7 quotes from Peter Rollins book – The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief

by Mark Votava

41WaxxiBLsL1. Abuse and devalue a person’s actual presence

“If we think that a person can be adequately understood as a purely biological system then we do an injustice to that person’s subjectivity, while if we seek to move beyond the flesh of a person and engage in some ‘pure’ relationship unsullied by their physical manifestation then we abuse and devalue that person’s actual presence. The flesh is both our means of encountering the other and the barrier that prevents full exposure to the other’s subjectivity. The exteriority of the other’s flesh acts as a type of semi-permeable membrane that allows a type of partial access to the subjectivity of the other, exposing the other in an oblique and partial manner, as if through a glass darkly.”

2. Only in action

“God is made known only in action…”

3. A mystery to participate in

“God is not a problem to be solved but rather a mystery to participate in…”

4. Be ready to critique our ideas and practices

“Christianity thus ought not be understood as either purely religious or irreligious, and the church should not be fully embraced as necessary or rejected as unnecessary. Rather, Christianity is structured as ir/religious and the church as a structure attempting to live with its un/necessary status. Christianity grounds us and yet invites us to gaze beyond its walls. As we attempt to understand our faith, we will develop ideas and practices that help us. Yet the point is that we must always be ready to critique these ideas and practices, for they are forever provisional. To display our fidelity to them we must always be ready to betray them.”

5. Radical doubt and absolute certainty

“Christian faith teaches us, if we are sensitive and able to be taught, that the seemingly opposite and opposed realms of radical doubt and absolute certainty are reconciled in a knowing beyond knowledge…”

6. The individual’s inner world

“Because a miracle takes place at a radically subjective level that cannot be objectified or analyzed, it is not, strictly speaking, something that is believed in. Rather it is lived. Indeed it can easily be lived and not believed in. The evidence of such a miracle is in the way in which it transforms the individual’s inner world, changing the entire trajectory of that person’s life in a positive, healing way. How one names this miracle, or even if one wishes to baptize it with any name, is irrelevant. What matters is the occurrence. It is this miracle that the church is there to affirm by engaging in creative acts of remembrance concerning this immemorial event. However, instead of these acts of humble remembrance, much of the church has emphasized the importance of what we think…”

7. A deep and sustained questioning arises

“The affirmation of an intervention amidst all our doubt and uncertainty concerning its source thus represents the Christian idea that we have been marked by a life-giving event that invites us to passionately respond with our entire being. It is out of this that a deep and sustained questioning arises.”

Do you live with a deep and sustained questioning?

Purchase The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

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My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist