A More Authentic Fundamentalism (Peter Rollins)

This quote is from Peter Rollins who will be in Hollywood speaking on his Evandalism tour March 1 and 2. In the post he discusses the subjective violence of Fundamentalism, which covertly seeks to cover up a maintenance of the status quo:

The main gist of the argument lies in exploring how the fundamentalism we witness at work today is, at its core, a movement that conserves and preserves the status quo. Its violence at the subjective level (e.g. defending the evils of misogyny, homophobia, unjust conflicts and self-interested foreign policy) is the direct outworking of its ultimate impotence when it comes to instigating real change….

In the same way fundamentalism, while violent at a surface level (at the level of everyday life) is simply a mask that hides the fact that it does not rock the very foundations of worldly power. Its frantic posturing and aggression is ultimately in the service of those with power, money, and voice. In this way their various highly funded projects designed to change society actually ensure that nothing of any significance really changes (those who are oppressed continue to be oppressed, the rich continue to get richer, the poor continue to get poorer).

In contrast to fundamentalism it is people like Mother Theresa and Martin Luther King who, in their pacifism, are truly violent (who are the true church militant). In their non-participation and uncompromising actions they lived out an alternative vision of how the world could work, directly challenging the foundations of worldly power. In their seductive vision of an alternative world and their unrelenting quest to pursue it they ruptured the systems of power that surrounded them and thus expressed the true violence of Christianity. A violence that shifts the underground by allowing the outsider to be heard.

In what ways have you witnessed the challenging of worldly power through a more authentic “fundamentalism” that Rollins discusses here, where the status quo is not being protected but rather intruded upon and overturned?

"Dear Woman, why do you involve me?" Mission Without Guarantees

In the fourth of his missiology lectures (see more on his third here) Steuernagel reflected on a few passages where we see Mary interacting with her son, Jesus. In John 2:3-5 it says:

“When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.””

Here Mary is not so much mother but any one of Jesus’ disciples leveraging to make their particular requests heard (cf. Mark 10:35-40). Continue reading "Dear Woman, why do you involve me?" Mission Without Guarantees

Between the Saying and the Said: Speaking Like Children

I’ve been really enjoying Peter Rollins blog lately and was struck by his recent post Did Jesus Speak Hoplandic? In the post he discusses Levinas’ theory about the act of saying something vs. the content of what was said. In it the question, “did Jesus speak Hoplandic” gets at the his point that “Jesus was someone who was always challenging us at the level of the said (taking what we thought was self evident and turning it upside down) so as to expose the nature of religious language as a mode of saying.” In other words, is our preoccupation for getting what is said down correctly disrupting our connection with who we are actually talking to (or about)? As Rollins says, Maybe Jesus was asking us to speak like children where what is most important is the actual connection that is made, not that that which is said. He makes this point, in a way I appreciated, by stating: Continue reading Between the Saying and the Said: Speaking Like Children