Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Pete Rollins on denying the resurrection

by Jeni

I've looked further into what Peter Rollins shared with us in the last seconds of his last presentation at poets, prophets and preachers and found this:

Without equivocation or hesitation I fully and completely admit that I deny the resurrection of Christ. This is something that anyone who knows me could tell you, and I am not afraid to say it publicly, no matter what some people may think…

I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.

Mary Hess, a Luther prof whom I admire and from whom I've learned more than I pretended to in my Ed. I class, posted a link to this back in January. She knows what's up.

I have to confess that this was said in an event and not unlike a trauma, hard to articulate and fully remember. He said this, after telling a parable written by Philip Harrison, found on page 172 of The Fidelity of Betrayal. I'll be honest, I felt tears warm my face as they streamed down in recognition of hearing and feeling the gospel.

The parable:

The other day I had a dream. I dreamed I arrived at the gates of heaven, heavy-shut, pure oak, beveled and crafted, glinting sharp in the sunlight. St. Peter stood to greet me; the big man wore brown, smile set deep against his ruddy cheeks.
“You’re here,” he said.
“I am,” I said.
“Great to see you – been expecting you,” he smiled. ”Come on in.”
He pushed gently against the huge door; it swung silently, creakless. I took a couple of steps forward until, at the threshold, one more step up and in, I realized I wasn’t alone. My friends had joined me, but they hovered behind, silently, looking on. None spoke. I realized only I could speak. I looked at them; some were Christians, some Hindus, some Buddhists, some Muslims, some Jews, some atheists. Some God knows what. I stopped, paused. A hesitant St. Peter looked at me, patiently, expectantly.
“What about these guys?” I asked him. ”My friends. Can they come?”
“Well, Phil,” he replied, soft in the still air, “you know the rules. I’m sorry, but that’s the way things are. Only the right ones.”
I looked at him. He seemed genuinely pained by his answer. I stood, considering. What should I do? I thought about my reference points, and thought about Jesus, the bastard, the outsider, the unacceptable, the drunkard, the fool, the heretic, the criminal, and I knew exactly where I belonged.
“I’ll just stay here then too,” I said, taking my one foot out of heaven. And I’ll tell you, I’d swear I saw something like a grin break across St. Peter’s face, and a voice from inside whispered, “At last.”
It would be easy to try to critique my response and what was said with our theological constructs, but why? Why bury the gospel? It's not dead and won't stay in the tomb.


Blogger christian scharen said...

Nice tracking, Jeni. And it was truly an awesome moment, totally Pete, totally Jesus.

7/12/2009 10:06:00 PM  

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