Peter Rollins – Returning to the New #ppp09

Peter Rollins – Returning to the New: An Introduction to Transformance Art – what do flash mobs, performance artists, and pirates have to do with Christianity? exploring how the church can act as an aroma of the coming kingdom.

Notes taken during Pete’s uhh, lecture/performance/address/… uhh, If you have seen him teach, you know what I am talking about. He’s super high energy, incredibly intelligent, and the ideas are brilliant.  Some people can’t listen to him because between the Irish accent and the intensity, they just can’t handle Pete. They say he’s too exhausting for their minds.  I suppose when you have been brought up on Family Matters and 3-point sermons, this tends to be true (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  I feel for them though, they must be cursed with boring smart people preaching long drawn out sermons every Sunday ;-)

Some of this will be familiar for those that came/read about the Emergent Mid-Atlantic organized by Thomas Turner & Friends. Anyway, this is what I got:

Life is lived forwards and understood backwards – Kierkegaard

Fairy tales contain our values

Living your dream can mean the ability of having new ones

Explanation of IKON non-membership cards (they have a card that says they are a non-member.  Yes, an actual physical card that literally says that.)

The real roles of the analyst is to push back so the anaylyzed can learn from themselves.

We want leaders to be dominated by us.  (brilliant)

Leader who refuse to lead are essential bc they allow people to learn/understand from themselves

more IKON practices …

Atheism for Lent – read critiques of C. to let them judge us

We know bigger car, home and money won’t make us happy.  We act like we know but our social self acts like it doesn’t know.

Pete Rollins explains the Batman- Bruce Wayne problem – It’s Wayne’s company that creates the greed that hurts the city then he has to fight the criminals that his company has produced.  He should either find a way for Wayne Enterprises to actually help the city or shut the company down …

The entire system needs to be changed

The church is a flash mob

Example of flash mobs

– A bunch of people show up to a train station and have some kind of pseudo-choreographed dance. Then leave.

– A bunch of people show up to a place with their ipods and listen and dance to the same song but only through their ipods and in as much silence as they can.  Then leave.

The purpose of canned laughter – so the audience doesn’t have to laugh.  The preacher believes so the congregation doesn’t have to believe.

As long as Rob believes, I don’t have to, you say you firm doubt but the structures doesn’t need to convince the chickens.

re-birth birth opens you up to experiences.

God is not an object in the world, He allows (or entrusts) us to change the objects in the world.

Some practices to consider:

1. Create the atmosphere that everything you believe could be wrong

2. suspended place – neither greek, nor jew, slave or free

neither freedom fighter or terrorost

so we empty ourselves

and look beyond the color of someone’s eyes

if you see them, if you know the color, your’re not really listening, your objectifying the person

Preaching should be descriptive, they should be performative

Bellieve, behave belong vs .belong, behave, believe

How can you have rock music if your parents give you everything you want?

Drawing people to conversation, they should be angry with what you’re saying, create ruptures

Instead of giving people water and epecting them to be thirsty, we should give them salt so they really can be thirsty

They’re not seeking God, they’re seeking meaning

Fear does not allow for transformational change (rabbit FBI, CiA RUC, bear)

Like being single, you usually find someone once you have accepted your singleness and are no longer looking.

The need is retrovertaliy true

Dramatic truth (I forget what this was actually.  I really they release some kind of recording of this.  You have to see/hear it and I have to again).

Anti-evangelism – no need for God so they can have an aroma of “bread”.

God is the one who gives God – Augustine

God became human, we want to be God-llike but God became human, incarnation is God becming fully human.

Rob asks top 3 moments of IKON

1. We askpeople to come to church and discover God but people must discover God in places they are not.

2. Pyro theology – the only church that illuminates is the the one that is burning

And I don’t think Pete made it to 3.

Reaction – As usual, I appreciated what Pete had to say.  At times I’m not sure people give him the respect and credit he deserves because he speaks in such an excited state but that’s their loss – those who have hears, let them hear, right?  I know I mentioned this in the intro but I had this conversation a few times whether it be the neighbors in front of me or conversations at the book table.

I left liking the idea of the practices of creating spaces where everything you believe could be wrong and suspended places.  I am trying to figure out what that would look like in my context.  I can see how it could work if the listener truly trusted the intention of the pastor-preacher.  I see why these practices work better in less traditional settings.  On the flip side, those are the among the excuses we tend to use.  How can we as a community form a space  where this would be beautiful and helpful for our faith and hopefully, for the faith of others?

Further, I think this among the reasons why the subject of apologetics is as popular as it is.  Though the apologist doesn’t usually say it, “What if none of this is true?”, the voice of the skeptic gets to ask that question like, “What if God  doesn’t actually exist?”  In most settings, the question is quickly squashed lest anyone fall of the wagon.  For me (and many like me), I’ve come to enjoy the great time of doubt because it makes me a better student of God, life and my Christian faith.

It could be my pre-suppositions or my ulterior motives, but the idea of suspended places always makes me think – pub-church.  I’ve been really interested in that for a while now, hmmm ….

I was also a bit relieved when he said “We should be drawing people to conversation, they should be angry with what you’re saying, create ruptures …”  Well, at least I’m doing something right ;-)   In truth, I some times feel that I have gone too far and the next day I wonder if I’ve gone far enough.  It’s a good thing to wrestle with but I was grateful he said this.

I hope to post Shane Hipp’s sessions soon.

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