by Keegan Osinski
from Modern Believing Vol 57:4 - October 2016

Abstract:

This article explores the relationship between the liberal theology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and Peter Rollins’s Pyrotheology, which I present here as a theological methodology that encourages the questioning of beliefs and the embracing of doubt. I highlight the family resemblances between these two theologies, focusing on their emphasis on individual experience and their engagement with society and culture. I explore how liberal theology might be emboldened by the deconstructive spark of Pyrotheology, and how Pyrotheology might be enriched by the social justice torch of liberal theology. I argue that the pyrotheological liturgical practice of Transformance Art could be the site of a more constructive engagement between Pyrotheology and liberal theology, serving to move the former’s often inward focus toward more outward work for justice in the world.

Keywords:

LIBERAL THEOLOGY, LITURGY, PETER ROLLINS, PYROTHEOLOGY, RADICAL THEOLOGY, RITUAL, SOCIAL GOSPEL, SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION, TRANSFORMANCE ART


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by Tad DeLay
from Modern Believing Vol 57:4 - October 2016

Abstract:

This article examines the relationship between Peter Rollins’s Pyrotheology and the psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan. A clear question thereby emerges relating to the role of anxiety and doubt in theology.

Keywords:

ANXIETY, EMERGING CHURCH, SIGMUND FREUD, JACQUES LACAN, PSYCHOANALYSIS, PYROTHEOLOGY, PETER ROLLINS


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by Xochitl Alvizo
from Modern Believing Vol 57:4 - October 2016

Abstract:

This article highlights a particular thread in Peter Rollins’s work that affirms a different quality of life is possible, shows how it constructively connects to the Evangelical/Post-Evangelical communities represented by the Emerging Church, and raises a feminist challenge to it, arguing that a more explicit critique of the aspects of ‘religion’ that create and preserve rigid and stifling forms of church is needed. Rollins centres the enactment of what he calls the magic trick (the transition from ‘religion’ to ‘faith’) around a singular subversive leader, even while calling for his or her disappearance. A postcolonial feminist perspective would charge that it is, rather, in the process of collectively navigating the radical participation of all within the body, when the habit of elevating a particular individual’s role or participation above all others is eliminated, that the magic trick is actually enacted, religion’s patriarchal logic undone, and true faith discovered.

Keywords:

EMERGING CHURCH, EVANGELICALISM, EVANGELICAL THEOLOGY, PETER ROLLINS, POST-EVANGELICAL, PYROTHEOLOGY, FEMINISM, FEMINIST THEOLOGY, INTERCULTURAL FEMINISM


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by Katharine Sarah Moody
from Modern Believing Vol 57:4 - October 2016

Abstract:

This article traces the themes of identity suspension and identification with the societal symptom as they emerge in Peter Rollins’s Pyrotheology and, especially, in his concept of Suspended Space. These ideas coalesce in the figure of the converted Saul and in Pauline understandings of Christ’s death on the Cross as both a loss of identity and an identification with the excluded and scapegoated other. I introduce readers to the background to these understandings of identity and identification-with by outlining elements of the ‘turn to Paul’ in Slavoj Žižek’s psychoanalytic political philosophy. I ask whether Rollins uncritically accepts Žižek’s portrayal of and polemic against identity politics, unwittingly repeats standard interpretations of Paul as effacing difference and, ultimately, propounds a politics of the same that struggles to truly listen to the differences haunting Pyrotheology.

Keywords:

DIFFERENCE, IDENTIFICATION, IDENTITY, IDENTITY POLITICS, JACQUES LACAN, PETER ROLLINS, PYROTHEOLOGY, SAINT PAUL, SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK, SUSPENDED SPACE, SYMPTOM, UNIVERSALITY


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by Peter Rollins
from Modern Believing Vol 57:4 - October 2016

Abstract:

In this article I respond to the other contributors to this special issue on Pyrotheology, drawing out and critically engaging one particularly pertinent point from each. I detail how those that facilitate Transformance Art gatherings occupy leadership roles only in order to expose the non-existence of the patriarchal God. I present what I see as the fundamental difference between Liberal Theology and Pyrotheology, which stresses not an underlying harmony and wholeness but the ontological priority of loss or lack as the ground of our being. I then propose that anxiety about this loss or lack is manifest in contemporary churches in the form of doubt and that religious believers should embrace such doubts. I also demonstrate how the embrace of doubt and deconstruction is a fundamentally affirmative affair, where loss and lack – commonly thought of as negative – is transformed into something positive. I conclude on a more biographical note, illustrating how the notion of Suspended Space is related to my experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland in order to show why these formative experiences of identity suspension continue to influence Pyrotheology.

Keywords:

DECONSTRUCTION, DOUBT, IDENTITY, LACK, LEADERSHIP, PATRIARCHY, PYROTHEOLOGY, PSYCHOANALYSIS, SUSPENDED SPACE, TRANSFORMANCE ART


You can read the full article on the Liverpool University Press website (subscription required) or join Modern Church and receive your own copy of our journal quarterly.