The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales

The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible TalesRollins Has Already Established Himself As A Major Voice And An Astute, Generative Force Within The Emergence Christianity The Orthodox Heretic Is His Most Accessible And Engaging Work To Date Phyllis TickleIn This Bold New Book Peter Rollins Presents A Vision Of Faith That Has Little Regard For The Institutions Of Christendom His Uncompromising Critique Of Religion, While Often Unsettling, Is Infused With A Deep And Abiding Love For What It Means To Genuinely Follow ChristPete Rollins Writes With Clarity And Compelling Conviction Frank Schaeffer I Remember Driving Around Belfast With Pete, Sitting In The Front Seat Listening To Him Tell These Parables That He D Written Thinking, Everybody Needs To Hear These And Now You Can Rob Bell, Author Of Jesus Wants To Save Christians

Peter Rollins is a Northern Irish writer, public speaker, philosopher and theologian who is a prominent figure in Postmodern Christianity.Drawing largely from various strands of Continental Philosophy, Rollins early work operated broadly from within the tradition of Apophatic Theology, while his recent books have signaled a move toward the theory and practice of Radical Theology In these bo

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  • Hardcover
  • 184 pages
  • The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales
  • Peter Rollins
  • English
  • 06 September 2019
  • 9781557256348

10 thoughts on “The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales

  1. says:

    A retelling of the parable of Jesus feeding the 5000, only this time Jesus and his disciples steal their food and eat it all A story about a holy priest who shows hospitality to all who come to his church, even a demon from hell The tale of a woman who goes off to a foreign land hoping to translate the scripture but ends up using the money she raises to help the residents after natural disasters only to find that this act translates scripture just as well as words on a page These are just a few of the tales Peter Rollins tells in this creative, fun and thought provoking book Some of the stories made me laugh, many made me think He writes as from a position of comfort and prosperity and the book is targeted to other such Christians of similar station The question perhaps at the root is can such people truly grasp the radical beauty of Jesus gospel when we are so far removed from Jesus and so much like those who rejected Jesus Some of the stories and comments may appear controversial or questionable, especially if we try to reduce them to a systematic theology But I believe even if you disagree with what Rollins is saying, this work will make you think about the person and work of Jesus which can only be a good thing.

  2. says:

    This is a sad little volume with an appropriate title, though not for the reason intended Structured as a collection of short parables followed by a short reflection on each parable intended to elicit contemplation by the reader, Rollins seeks to utilize this beloved pedagogical tool of Jesus for its capacity for subversion and depth, in contrast to discursive devices Unfortunately, once one understands the position the author is coming from or especially if you re already aware of it going in , the parables themselves become rote and highly predictable very quickly And the didactic explanations rather than drawing us into mystery and unknowing or deeper contemplation provide nice, neat, cookie cutter templates of meaning Indeed, the reader is positively assaulted, not by the author s vaunted mystery and unknowing , but by a veritable systematic theology which is as dogmatic as those which it decries As could hardly be avoided, the opponents of dogma and certainty can do naught but trade sound dogma, based on divine revelation, for bad dogma based on whim One very curious feature of the volume is its presentation of a few very basic, traditional, orthodox Christian concepts, which the author seems to think are novel revelations For example, the notion of the soteriological importance of incarnating the commandments of Christ, rather than merely believing them Granted, as a reaction against certain novel, heretical modern forms of contemporary Christianity esp various forms of Protestantism with strong antinomian strains this might seem like a radical revelation, but for all historic, traditional Christianity, it s nothing other than what has always been affirmed, taught, and strived to be accomplished Of course, not content with affirming this because what kind of radical would you be if you didn t set yourself over against every other Christian who has ever lived Peter goes on to claim, contrary to the Bible and all historic Christianity, that belief as an aspect of faith not only doesn t matter at all, but can actually hinder one from obeying the commandments Well, no Sorry Fail less Similarly, Peter draws false dichotomies throughout the book Between belief and action only action matters, period when in fact right action is most important, but is inseparable from and flows from right belief , between prayer Bible study and service of the poor only the latter matters period, the former is nothing , between even love of God and love of man Yes, if you pray and read your Bible but don t follow the commandments, your faith is dead The flipside which Peter doesn t acknowledge or understand is that if you don t pray and read the Bible or, to go further, believe rightly, go to church etc , you can not possibly incarnate the commandments Though the two are intricately interwoven, the commandment to love God comes before and is higher than the commandment to love man Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of the book is the tweaking of gospel accounts and parables, turning them into new parables, and developing teachings that are often directly contrary to the actual gospel account To give just one example, the author is apparently uneasy with the parable of the prodigal son presenting repentance as preceding forgiveness, so he retells the parable almost unchanged, except it moves the prodigal s repentance to the end Instead of waking up from his wallowing with swine, having seen his own depravity, and repenting which is demonstrated by both his words and his action of returning home , Peter imagines his return is self interested and not penitent, and only later does he experience repentance as a result of forgiveness Of course, experiencing our gracious Lord s long suffering mercy does lead us to greater and deeper repentance, but there is no forgiveness w o repentance As the parable in its original form clearly reveals Peter apparently prefers a different moral, one contrary to Christ s words Christ could have, of course, told a parable of a father who drags his son kicking and screaming, against his will out from the mire and muck of his sin, back into his arms, but this would rather obviously not be loving or true forgiveness Yet it s the model of forgiveness Peter ultimately endorses, whether he realizes it or not He also flirts with a genuinely Orthodox capital o theme in dealing lightly with apophaticism Of course, he doesn t endorse the apophatic way of St Dionysius though he cites him , St Gregory the Theologian, St Maximus the Confessor or the entire Orthodox tradition, but he mines it and manipulates it into something it isn t Whereas authentic, apostolic Christian tradition on the matter holds that God s unknowability is balanced by His self revelation and intimate communion with Him, offered via the salvific acts of the All holy Trinity in history, Peter pits his unknowability against his self revelation, and essentially sees his self revelation as swallowed up in unknowability But this is ultimately a denial of God s goodness and desire to draw us into His kenotic life of love To be fair, I did not heed the pretentious advice in the intro which instructs readers to read the parables slowly, and many times, so as to fully appreciate their power Seriously I lightly chuckled at the absurdity of that before reading the text, but now having read it my laugh is deep and guttural The parables are paper thin, the explanations cut against deep reflection, and the morals contained therein are deeply anti Christian Avoid this book altogether, or only read it as a sad reminder of the bitter, pretentious, divisive fruits of the emergent or post evangelical progressive movement.

  3. says:

    The thing which turned me off of this book is its pretentiousness It is too conscious of its own greatness and depth and in the process loses most of it Likewise, the author is often too superficial in the way he critiques consumerism and the capitalist system under the guise of what he calls the radical demands of Christ He seems to paint through his stories a picture of a black and white world, one in which there are people who follow what he claims to be the true spirit of Christ and those who live by the letter of the law and in the process miss the whole point this, for him, seems to be manifested in some selflessly living for the poor and dispossessed and others simply going through the motions of religion even if sincerely This is far too simplistic Just consider the empirical reality of the situation and that often sincere interest in religion and belief claims is in fact yoked with charitable giving and activity, so than with those who are liberal with their theology This book of stories just does not address the complexity of the real situation.

  4. says:

    This is my favorite Peter Rollins book I have read so far The book is a collection of parables told by Peter they are all powerful and jostling If you only read one of his books, I d strongly suggest this one.

  5. says:

    This book is PHENOMENAL I found each of these parables deeply moving and challenging Not only that, I think they are unforgettable to anyone who reads them I truly feel inspired and changed by these I think any Christian looking to read something different that will cause them to think and even be moved to action will really enjoy this book Parables represent a mode of communicating that cannot be heard without being heeded, in which the only evidence of having heard its message is in the fleshly incarnation of that message The parable is heard only when it changes one s social standing to the current reality, not one s mere reflection of it The parable does not create self aware purveyors of irony whereby one mocks the very behavior that one engages in, thus enjoying the activity in the very moment of disavowing it Rather, the parable facilitates genuine change at the level of action itself The message is thus hidden in the very words that express it, only to be found by the one who is wholly changed by it In the words of one great Storyteller, the parable can be heard only by those with ears to hear.

  6. says:

    The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales by Peter Rollins is a collection of original parables by Rollins that explore three themes Beyond Belief, G O D I S N O W H E R E, and Transfigurations Each of these 33 short parable is followed by a brief commentary rationale by Rollins.Some of my favorites include, in no particular order No Conviction 1 Jesus and the Five Thousand 2 Translating the Word 3 The Third Mile 8 The Last Trial 15 The Mission of Judas 18 Betrayal 21 The Believer 22 The Father s Approval 24 The Unrepentant Son 26 The Book of Love 30 These are great, easy to share stories that explore many of the messages of Jesus I will be returning to this volume

  7. says:

    Excellent storytelling and very creative parables Some Biblical parables turned upside down or inside out and some entirely original ones It covers the faith spectrum in a way that both believers and skeptics can appreciate and be challenged.

  8. says:

    The book is a series of modern parables intended to convey various ideas about Christianity and the practice of it Many of the Impossible Tales originate with a faith community in the UK known as IKON The parables are easy to read but the author tends to over explain them, which I feel steals some of their mystery.

  9. says:

    Love, love, love Will read again and again.

  10. says:

    I hadn t planned to read this book at this time, but received it by surprise from a friend I m glad I did These impossible tales are modeled after the style of reflective and symbolic teaching found in Jesus s parables indeed, several are just modified versions of Christ s own The thing is, when we read Jesus s parables thousands of years later, they have become their own orthodoxy to us they no longer always strike the same chords even offensive ones that His struck for His audiences Just as Jesus s parables pointed out things religion had wrong about the Kingdom of God, Peter Rollins employs the parable with a twist strategy for today s audiences to confront us with the ways we ve missed it today.Jesus often used the phrase let him who has ears to hear, hear This is the principle in these stories not every story necessarily resonated with me or challenged me to the same degree Some were a little confusing, and ones that were offensive to my religious mind sometimes were effectively challenging, and sometimes just fell flat But all in all, the principle is one of useful and challenging reflection on what we think faith is, what the gospel teaches, what the value of the Kingdom is, and many other deep and important principles There is something in here for everyone, as long as you re willing to take control of your own over reactions If there s a flaw in the book, it s the discussions While I m not opposed to discussing the stories and what he meant to say by them, I think it would be easier to reflect on the stories as stories by arranging it a little differently perhaps with some discussion reflection questions, and maybe his own explanations in a different section of the book like an extended endnote The stories are short and simple, and some are familiar but with a twist, some are clear and others opaque, but the true value of a story is its openness to reflection and connection I would have been able to do that easily if I wasn t immediately drawn into his explanation, but did a bit on my own or with others first It might even work better as a sort of devotional.Still, it s very much worth a read You don t have to be a fan of the emergent church to get at least something from this, but if you hate postmodern Christianity and all its ideas, this will probably not connect with you as well, because you ll be too much on your guard against heretical stories I would challenge everyone to be willing to examine your own faith critically and humbly I think there s value in every form of Christianity, and while I don t fully agree with every viewpoint Rollins may have, the stories, their discussions, and main lessons are, at the least, a useful reflection on faith, and at most, a beautiful homage to God s ways being higher than ours We should all seek to challenge ourselves in this way.

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