cover image How (Not) to Speak of God

How (Not) to Speak of God

Peter Rollins, Author, Brian McLaren, Foreword by . Paraclete $19.95 (144p) ISBN 978-1-55725-505-1

In the first half of this powerful but frustratingly opaque book, debut author Rollins summarizes some of the theological ideas that the so-called emerging church is currently exploring: the importance of doubt and silence, the limits of apologetics, and the idea that God is concealed even as God is revealed. He skillfully scrutinizes Christian teaching though the lens of postmodern (especially deconstructionist) theory, and argues that Christians should both affirm their views of God and recognize that those views are inadequate. The second half comprises a set of liturgies that Rollins's religious community, an Irish group called Ikon, has employed. One service explores "divine absence" through a parable and a reading from Pascal. A ceremony for Advent uses sackcloth and ashes to highlight the penitential nature of the season. If most of these liturgies are affecting, some are a little hokey—in a concluding service called "Queer," for example, participants wrap stones, representing their prejudices, in Bubble Wrap. While this may prove an important book for some younger Christian leaders, dense prose will limit its audience: "God's interaction with the world is irreducible to understanding, precisely because God's presence is a type of hyper-presence." Nonetheless, a very enthusiastic foreword from Emergent elder statesman Brian McLaren will help create buzz. (Aug.)