Parker Artz, an outstanding student at William Jewell College, spoke in Chapel there last month. Thanks to Parker, whom I have the privilege of knowing personally, I learned about the Irish theologian Peter Rollins.
A couple of days ago I finished reading his thought-provoking book The Orthodox Heretic (2009), and just today I started reading his How (Not) to Speak of God (2006). I have just purchased his book called Insurrection: To Believe is Human To Doubt, Divine (2011) to read soon.
The former book is a collection of 33 parables/stories followed by a commentary. They all have a bit of a different twist from what Christian writers usually say. For example, Rollins’ 13th chapter is “The Prodigal Father,” an interesting twist where it is the father that goes missing; it deals with the problem of people who feel abandoned by God.
“The Unrepentant Son” is a bit of a different “take” on the parable of the prodigal son. Rollins writes, “Religious groups have always loved repentant sinners. After all, there is nothing quite like parading a repentant sinner in church for inspiring the faithful.
“But what if Jesus had an infinitely more radical message than this? What if Jesus taught an impossible forgiveness, a forgiveness without conditions, a forgiveness that would forgive before some condition was met?” (p. 147).
With so much emphasis on story-telling in preaching now, The Orthodox Heretic should give preachers, youth workers, and other speakers some good stories to consider and perhaps to use.
I don’t necessarily agree with everything that Rollins writes, but I highly recommend his thought-provoking book.