Peter Rollins and The Fidelity of Betrayal

 Peter Rollins new book, “The Fidelity of Betrayl: Towards a Church Beyond Belief” is soon to release (June). Today I got a chance to take a peak at the prologue and introduction to the book and I’m really excited about the book for a few reasons.  First, I loved his first book and still think it’s one of the best and most engaging theology books I’ve read in the last few years. Part of the reason is he uses contemporary philosphy and cultural theory in a way that is provocative, yet useful for today’s church. Second, after reading these two sections of the book I can see that it is clearly even more influenced by some of my favorite theorists, Slavoj Žižek and Alain Badiou, than his previous one. The title gives this away. Third, I’m excited to see Rollins utilize some of his homespun parables (a collection of these parables is to be published under the working title dis-courses). His creativity extends beyond just being able to write insightful narratives in parable form though, as you can see from the title, his theology looks to challenge and disrupt our common (mis)understandings of what it means to be the church. This book will certainly cause its fair share of disruptions. In Fidelity of Betrayal Rollins suggests that betrayal is built into the very fabric of the church, betrayal is inextricably connected to what it means to be faithful. He argues in his introduction that there is a close affinity between these two aporetic statements ‘What Would Jesus Do’ and ‘What Would Judas Do’:

In other words, what would Jesus do when confronted with Christianity today? Would Jesus do what Judas did, and betray it? In saying this I am not hinting at the rather mundane insight that Jesus would betray the anemic, inauthentic, self-serving Churchianity that so often festers quietly under the banner of Christianity today. I am not asking whether Jesus would turn the tables on what passes as contemporary Christianity in favor of a more robust and radical version that may have once existed in an age long past. Rather, by asking whether Jesus would betray Christianity as Judas betrayed Christ, I am asking if Jesus would plot the downfall of Christianity in every form that it takes. Or rather, to be more precise, I am asking whether Christianity, in its most sublime and revolutionary state, always demands an act of betrayal from the Faithful. In short, is Christianity, at its most radical, always marked by a kiss, forever forsaking itself, eternally at war with its own manifestation.

This is no doubt provocative and raises not only lots of questions but plenty of insights, I look forward to digging in further and seeing what he means by all this.

Finally, here’s a snapshot of the Table of Contents:

 

 Academics 2014

 

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Wess

...is the William R. Roger Director of Friends Center and Quaker Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, NC., PhD in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary, served as a "released minister" at Camas Friends Church, and father of three. He enjoys sketchnoting, sharing conversation over coffee with a friend, listening to vinyl and writing creative nonfiction.

2 thoughts on “Peter Rollins and The Fidelity of Betrayal”

  1. Wess Pete’s coming to visit our community early next year. Maybe a good time for you guys to come as well? 🙂

    Hey did you see the editors stuffed up the title on a first run and called it “The Betrayal of Fidelity”. Ouch. That’s a lot of pulping to do.

    I’m really looking forward to this book as well and loved his first.

  2. Jarrod – Nice, that does sound like good timing…

    I hadn’t heard about them messing up the title, too bad they won’t send me a free copy before they pulp it! They sent me a free copy last time around, but I haven’t heard anything this time! Oh well…

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