Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Friday, November 26, 2021

R.E. Slater - Sin as "Lack"

Sin as "Lack"
by R.E. Slater

Somewhere in my studies over the years I came across Peter Rollins whom I first met at my church, Mars Hill, when Pete was invited one Sunday to speak by Rob Bell. I immediately fell in love with Pete's insights, and later learned - when hosting a webcast for GCAS between Pete and Jack Caputo - that they each held a deep fellowship between one another as friends, mentors, and respective scholars in their fields.

Peter Rollins (born 31 March 1973) is a Northern Irish writer, public speaker, philosopher, producer and radical theologian. Drawing largely from various strands of continental philosophy, Rollins' early work operated broadly from within the tradition of apophatic theology, while his more recent books have signalled a move toward the theory and practice of Death of God theology. In these books Rollins develops a "religionless" interpretation of Christianity [similar to Bonhoeffer] called Pyrotheology, an interpretation that views faith as a particular way of engaging with the world rather than a set of beliefs about the world. Rollins has a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in scholastic philosophy, a Master of Arts degree in political theory and social criticism, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree dealing with post-structural theory from Queen's University, Belfast.

American Philosopher, Jack Caputo
John David Caputo (born October 26, 1940) is an American philosopher who is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University. Caputo is a major figure associated with postmodern Christianity and continental philosophy of religion, as well as the founder of the theological movement known as weak theology. Much of Caputo's work focuses on hermeneutics, phenomenology, deconstruction and theology.

Listening to Pete as he spoke that Sunday he presented the idea of viewing sin as a "lack" within the void of our human soul. Lately, I've been thinking about this again as a non-typical way of describing sin in terms of process theology and NOT in terms of evangelical theology.

Politics as Lack

One of my motivators today has come from my socio-political readings of rightwing and church-based media headlines identifying with white Christian nationalism = white supremacy = the new radical republican extremist party and the deep divisions these groups are causing in America by their continual gaslighting (propagandizing) of the American public.

To view sin as a lack within the
emptiness of the human soul

It reminded me yet again that "all things in the human sphere of social networking can be politicized at all times" by all kinds of groups and people. Even here, by myself (hopefully in good ways and not harmful ways) as I ask readers to resist and stand against bigotry, discrimination, unfair civil-and-domestic policies of inequality, and the blatant denial of basic civic liberties by the radical right placed upon an expanding, growing, polypluralistic American democracy.

But these "Democratic Troubles" of the Trumpian, post-Christian Era have shown that we, as humans, are especially skilled at deflection, blame and criticism as social reactionaries. And further, that we are seldom very good at listening, forming sound opinions, or in producing quality leadership. Look at any newspaper headline and you'll find these societal "lacks" reported again and again. From the "sanctimonious" sanctuaries of our churches, to the whispering hallways of the office; from family con fabs to community school boards. Our words betray us every time we speak as we act out our words issued from the depths of our inner hearts. We tend to feel before we think and usually those feelings are deeply rooted in troubled spirits looking for expression.

Sin as Lack

Think of sin as a "lack" in our human souls. A "separation" from our identity in the Imago Dei (Image of God). To be human is to experience lack. A gap within us. An ontological disconnect, or metaphysical disruption, with the cosmic whole. A lack which can drive us in mad pursuits possibly to the harms of others - or nature itself - in order to fill the gap, or cross the divide, within us.

The sad truth is, we can never fill this ontic gap or soulish separation by whatever we try to do. It will always be there in one form or another driving us to do very human things. The only thing we can do is to forgive ourselves and make peace with the gap buried deep within the DNA of our inner beings.

We are ever driven by our lack. Jesus is our peace who
helps us forgive ourselves bound in ontic disconnect.

For the Christian gospel the lack is forgiven, filled, and crossed over ontically, and metaphysically, through the atoning work of Jesus on the Cross at Calvary. By our repentance and penitent moment towards God will come a spirit-like peace offering wholeness. A peace fashioned by God for us in our brokenness which promises and begins to heal our fractured souls.

As long as we are human this "lack" will never be gone. It will be something we will always struggle with whether we are in the ministry, secluded in a monastery cell, working in local non-profits for the benefits of the broken, teaching, nursing, or active in earth restoration. Lack will always be with us. But in Jesus it can be mitigated enough that it doesn't quite so completely motivate us at every moment of every day of our mortal lives.

Jesus may fill our Lack but Lack Still Drives Us

How we act, or what we do, may always show our lack. If we might simply drop off the theological moral-or-ethical ideas of sin for a moment and think in terms of a psychological lack - or even deeper, as a philosophical lack - to human identity we can perhaps understand how deeply this condition grips the human soul.

What we feel we "lack" drives us to make up for its voids in our souls. Too often we substitute things to fill those holes in us but end up discovering nothing fills empty hearts full of pain and lack.

Now as a Christian I'm supposed to say Jesus fills this lack as I already have done - but ontic lack cannot be filled by the Christian religion as substitute for Jesus. To some degree, Jesus fellowships - but not hard-hearted dogmatic fellowships. Turning to God to fill our lack of separateness from Him by Jesus' atonement and God's Spirit begins the healing process needed within us. And yet, even as Spirit-driven repentants before God, humility often does not become us because of the voids of our personal lacks which habitually haunt us, so often does pride and selfishness own us.

Whether Christian or not, all religions - even the Christian religion - must recognize this lack. More importantly, faith and religion must not be the thing to be substituted in for the disparagement of lack. Lack must be filled in a personal relationship with the God who removes that void of emptiness, of separation from who we are created to be and become. But mere "faith works" or "religiousity" can never fill our lack. You cannot fill lack with more lack, thinking this action will rectify what already is missing. I think of church pastors who may possibly be driven by lack - filled with good intentions, but always driven by lack... as we all are, whoever we are, and whatever we do which defines us.

Too often we substitute things to fill those holes
in us but end up discovering nothing fills
empty hearts full of pain and lack.

The best I can say to get along with the human (and cosmic) condition of "lack" is to i) recognize it and ii) refuse to let it drive us. Let all things be done in love, healing, restoration, and recreation towards wellbeing in the love of God. But know, with a freewill creation there will ever be this condition of "lack". In a good way, it drives all forward positively. In a bad way, it brutishly disrupts loving action and relational connection. It is from within this ontic and metaphysical disruption we must chose to destroy and rebuild.

Lastly, I may pray and hope to disrupt the harming politicization of human events. To stop the lies, the blaming, the scapegoating, and the incessant, bald-faced disingenuousness by those who foment trouble. Who are pretend-healers, hypocrites and false prophets. To recognize, resist, and stand against such self-serving voices by declaring my disagreements against their irreligious, secular and ungodly pomposities.

Become streams of Living Waters.

Hubris and pride are but other names for personal and societal lack. We must learn the difference, stop its flow, and become streams of living waters. Do not pass such secular and religious toxicities on to the next generations further downstream. Jesus didn't, and taught against such ill-living and fated religion built on lack and not on Jesus. Let us do the same.

R.E. Slater
November 26, 2021

* * * * * *

Peter Rollins
Secret of the Lack | Part II
Jun 28, 2020

In this second seminar from my six part Pyrotheology course, I look at the move from a position called the 'Lack of the Secret' to that of the 'Secret of the Lack'. This is a movement that turns doubt, ambiguity and unknowing from an expression of epistemological humility into positive ontological affirmations.

Peter Rollins
On Lack and Forgiveness
Jul 7, 2018

This is a small clip from an all-day seminar I gave on the theory and technology of Pyro-theology.

Pete Rollins
Embracing the Lack
Sep 21, 2016

Peter Rollins: Pyrotheology -  Embracing the Lack
Belfast Interview | English | VAKUUM
Feb 9, 2019

The Northern Irish philosopher Peter Rollins represents an idea of faith, that embraces doubt, unknowing and complexity. In the intersection of philosophy, theology and psychology he developed his Pyrotheology, which is more about how you believe, than what you believe. 

Peter Rollins was interviewed by the German theologian Peter Jost in April 2018 at Wake Festival. More information about Wake and Peter Rollins can be found on his  website: https://peterrollins.com/

Ep. 246 | The Lacking (with Peter Rollins)
Aug 4, 2020

Joshua and Ryan discuss the fear of missing out (FOMO), the joy of missing out (JOMO), and how to be content in the midst of uncertainty with author, theologian, and philosopher Peter Rollins. Watch “Maximal” episodes of The Minimalists Private Podcast exclusively at http://patreon.com/theminimalists

Questions answered in this episode:
  • What is ‘the lack’? (03:21) 
  • What is the difference between freedom and determinism? (04:28)
  • What are hypothetical and categorical imperatives? (05:57)
  • Can too much freedom cause anxiety? (11:22) 
  • How do I find satisfaction with my current situation rather than constantly searching for something new? (13:10) 
  • What is the difference between desire and drive? (15:50)
  • Why do most of us seem to crave change? (22:42) 
  • What is the burden of freedom? (23:50) 
  • What is the ‘lack of the secret’ compared to the 'secret of the lack’? (27:07) 
  • How can I curb my constant desire for new things? (31:38) 
  • Is our desire for the new related to our past? (33:16)

* * * * * *

Summary of Argument: Pete argues for the Protestant idea of original sinJack for the Catholic idea of God's Image from which sin cannot come forth nor be removed. Here, in this post, I have presented the Imago Dei as God's residing image imprinted upon creation (re Caputo) but acknowledging that with freewill came the ontic separation or "lack" (re Rollins) which couldn't remove God's Image but had pushed it's possibility further away from creation unless rectified in Christ salvifically (which it has been in Jesus, positionally but not yet practically).
Thus, in Jesus' redemptive work can now begin the heavy lifting of reducing the Imago Dei gap/gulf away from an ontic lack of being towards the progressive possibilities and actualities of ontic fulfillment of fellowship in the Divine (being and becoming) evidenced by loving engagement with one another while bringing restorative value to creation (e.g., process theology) - re slater


Keller-riffic + Caputo Tells Pete the “lack” is BS
Prepare yourself for some live theological goodness from the Subvert the Norm conference. In this episode you will hear Tripp and Jonnie talk with Catherine Keller about her newest book Cloud of the Impossible: Negative Theology and Planetary Entanglement among other subversively inspired topics. Then Jack Caputo arrives to settle a significant disagreement with Peter Rollins about the nature of humanity. It was simultaneously nerdy and hilarious, so do not listen until you are prepared to rub your chin while laughing.

Catherine Keller speaks to Process Theology then Pete Rollins and Jack Caputo get it on at 34:30 

* * * * * *


Peter Rollins

Peter Rollins
Peter Rollins 2015.jpg
Rollins in 2015
Born31 March 1973
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Main interests
Notable ideas
Transformance art
Suspended space

Peter Rollins (born 31 March 1973) is a Northern Irish writer, public speaker, philosopher, producer and radical theologian.[1]

Drawing largely from various strands of continental philosophy, Rollins' early work operated broadly from within the tradition of apophatic theology, while his more recent books have signalled a move toward the theory and practice of death of God theology. In these books Rollins develops a "religionless" interpretation of Christianity called pyrotheology,[2] an interpretation that views faith as a particular way of engaging with the world rather than a set of beliefs about the world.[3]

In contrast to the dominant reading of Christianity, this more existential approach argues that faith has nothing to do with upholding a religious identity, affirming a particular set of beliefs or gaining wholeness through conversion. Instead he has developed an approach that sees Christianity as a critique of these very things. This anti-religious reading stands against the actual existing church and lays the groundwork for an understanding of faith as a type of life in which one is able to celebrate doubt, ambiguity and complexity while deepening care and concern for the world.[4] He argues that the event which gave rise to the Christian tradition cannot itself be reduced to a tradition, but is rather a way of challenging traditions.

In order to explore and promote these themes Rollins has founded a number of experimental communities such as ikon[5] and ikonNYC.[6] These groups describe themselves as iconic, apocalyptic, heretical, emerging and failing[7] and engage in the performance of what they call 'transformance art'[8] and the creation of "suspended space."[9] Because of their rejection of "worldview Christianity" and embrace of suspended space, these groups purposefully attempt to attract people with different political perspectives and opposing views concerning the existence of God and the nature of the world.[10]

Although Rollins does not directly identify with the emerging church movement,[11] he has been a significant influence on the movement's development.[12][13]

Early life and education

Rollins grew up in East Belfast during the Troubles,[14] a period of intense and violent sectarian conflict that erupted in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s and resulted in the deaths of more than 3,600 people[15] before the signing of the Good Friday Agreement on 10 April 1998,[16] which is generally regarded as the end of the conflict, though pockets of violence persist today. He attended Orangefield Boys High School and left at the age of sixteen without the qualifications required for further study. He was unemployed for several years before taking a job as a youth worker in Carrickfergus and working in a homeless shelter run by the Simon Community on the Falls Road, Belfast.He then went on to study an access course on the Castlereagh Campus of the Belfast Metropolitan College (an intensive one-year course designed for disadvantaged students who wish to attend university but lack the entry requirements).[17] Rollins has a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in scholastic philosophy, a Master of Arts degree in political theory and social criticism, and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree dealing with post-structural theory from Queen's University, Belfast.[18]

Academics such as Cathy Higgins have explored how an understanding of Rollins activism requires an appreciation of The Troubles. The development of groups like the Belfast-based ikon collective was at least partially a response to the pervasive atmosphere of violence, economic hardship, rigid identity markers and deep rooted sectarianism in operation in the province. The sectarian violence combined with the use of religion to legitimize injustice, the fundamentalism of many Protestant churches and the sexual abuse scandals of the Catholic Church, played a major role in creating the frame of reference from which Rollins works.[19] The result being an emphasis on creating practices designed so that "participants [could] set aside the various identities that define them" and gather as a gathering of equals to "share stories, struggles, and rituals that help them respond to one another in a Christ-like way."[20] In contrast to a dogmatic form of religion she notes that ikon provided a space in which "doubt is viewed as healthy and necessary for owning our material reality, vulnerability and limitedness".[21]


While operating broadly outside the academy Rollins does work with various academic institutions across the UK. He has been a research associate with the Irish School of Ecumenics (Trinity College, Dublin)[22] and is currently on faculty at the Global Center for Advanced Studies.[23]

Early writing

Rollins' unpublished PhD (His Colour is Our Blood: A Phenomenology of the Prodigal Father) offers a survey of religious thinking in the aftermath of MarxFreud, and Nietzsche. It engages directly with Martin Heidegger's critique of onto-theology and explores the religious significance of Jacques Derrida's post-structural theory and Jean-Luc Marion's saturated phenomenology (drawing out the points of connection and conflict between them). This manuscript represents Rollins' initial attempt to articulate an approach to faith that would short-circuit the categories of theism and atheism and problematize the various debates that arise from them. In so doing this marks an approach to Christianity that is not related to a system of belief but rather to a particular mode of life.

His first book, How (Not) to Speak of God (2006) popularized the main themes of his PhD by blending the apophatic work of Meister Eckhart[24] and pseudo-Dionysius[25] with the Post-structural work of Derrida[26] and Marion.[27] How (Not) to Speak of God also outlined how the theory was developed and worked out in a concrete way through the ikon collective (the second half of the book outlined a series of 'transformance art' liturgical experiments).[28]

While his early work is marked by themes that continue to play a central role in his later development (such as doubt, complexity and ambiguity), they remain largely within a specifically theistic and mystical register.[29]

Shift to radical theology

The Fidelity of Betrayal (2008) signalled a movement from apophatic and post-structural discussions witnessed in his PhD and How (Not) to Speak of God into Radical Theology.[30] With this work we begin to see a critique of purely theistic forms of faith and witness the growing influence of political philosopher Slavoj Žižek and psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan in his overall project.[31] The Fidelity of Betrayal is thus a work that bridges the more mystical influence of his first writings toward a theological materialism, a trajectory that was subsequently fleshed out and deepened in Insurrection (2011) and The Idolatry of God (2013). In these later books the influence of Hegel, Žižek, Lacan, later Bonhoeffer and Tillich comes to the fore, though John Caputo remains as an ongoing point of reference.[32]


Rollins incorporates narrative forms into his talks to create a more informal style of communication. In 2009 Rollins published The Orthodox Heretic, a book of 33 short, parable-like stories. He has also written fairytales[33] and a play that became the basis of a short film he produced, called Making Love[34]

Current thinking

Rollins' overall project is marked by the themes of doubt, complexity, unknowing and embracing brokenness.[35] More than this, he has been interested in showing that these themes are central to the founding event of Christianity.[36] He is interested in showing how the central scandal of Christianity offers us a critique of religion[37] (including the need to believe) and tribal identity,[38] both of which have been lost in the actually existing church; an institution that he argues represents a fundamental betrayal of the insurrectionary power of faith.[39] His work is an attempt to show that Christianity does not rest on theistic belief, some commitment to supernaturalism or the affirmation of some set of dogmas.[40] Rollins has named his theological program pyrotheology.[41] The name was inspired by the Spanish anarchist Buenaventura Durruti's statement that "the only church that illuminates is a burning church."[42] The phrase has also inspired some of Slavoj Žižek's work related to radical theology.[43]

Rollins' work operates at the intersection of where Post-Structuralism, Psychoanalysis, Phenomenology, and Existentialism meet and inform each other.[44] What follow are some of the major themes evidenced in his project:

  1. Humans have a natural and destructive disposition toward the pursuit of satisfaction: By employing insights developed by psychoanalysis, Rollins argues that humans tend to seek some object that would seem to promise satisfaction.[45] This very pursuit is, however, itself destructive, for we either don't get what we seek above all else and thus always long for it, or we do get it and discover that it is actually unable to offer us what we sought.[46]
  2. Humans have a natural and destructive disposition to seek out certainty: Employing the insights of childhood development in the area of metapsychology Rollins argues that, as children, we identify with false images that help us to cover over our weakness and dependence on others.[47] Rollins claims that adults often remain caught within these false images.[48] Our various beliefs offer us a certain level or security and sense of belonging. But he argues that they ultimately damage us by distancing us from others, causing us to repress doubt and preventing us from being positively impacted by people who think and practice in ways that are different from our own.[49]
  3. Religion falsely promises to offer the certainty and satisfaction that we seek: While certainty and satisfaction are being offered to us from multiple sources, Rollins argues that the church offers the paradigmatic version of this pursuit. God is offered as that which will give us satisfaction and a certainty not available elsewhere.[50] He argues that anything we believe offers this type of happiness and confidence is actually nothing but an idol that offers, ironically, the opposite: dissatisfaction and uncertainty.[51]
  4. The Liberal and Progressive forms of Church are structurally similar to Conservative and Fundamentalist Church: While Conservative and Fundamentalist churches can be seen to fall into the problems Rollins outlines, his main concern lies with Liberal and Progressive communities. He argues that Liberal and Progressive churches verbally advocate doubt, complexity, ambiguity and brokenness, yet generally enact an idolatrous view of faith in their liturgical structures.[52][53]
  5. Faith is not a system that offers certainty and satisfaction but is a mode of living free from these drives.


Rollins's project involves attempting to encourage a constant rupturing of ideological forms of Christianity through the development of non-dogmatic collectives that embrace doubt, complexity and ambiguity, open themselves up to critique, and face up to the human experience of lack.[54][55][56] He has stated that these communities have a structural similarity to twelve step programs insofar as they involve facing up to one's issues and working them through in communities where grace and acceptance are fundamental principles.[57] Psychoanalytic ideas, particularly from the school of Lacan, play a fundamental role.[58][59] Rollins has developed a number of "contemplative practices" that are designed to help in this process.[60]

Public speaking

As a public speaker and storyteller Rollins has been involved in various tours (often in collaboration with musicians and artists).[61] These include How (Not) to Speak of God (2006), Beyond Belief (2008), Lessons in Evandalism (2008), Insurrection (2009), Building on Fire (2013), and Playing with Fire (2014). In addition to this Rollins curates an annual three-day festival event in Belfast exploring the theory and practice of pyrotheology.[62]


  • How (Not) To Speak of God (Paraclete/SPCK, 2006). The book aimed to re-envisage faith in the postmodern world, focusing on provisionality, fragility and fragmentation. The book became influential among emergent evangelical Christians soon after its publication.[63]
  • The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church beyond Belief (Paraclete/SPCK 2008)
  • The Orthodox Heretic and Other Impossible Tales (Paraclete/SCM, April 2009)
  • Insurrection: To Believe is Human; to Doubt, Divine (Howard/Hodder and Stoughton, October 2011)
  • The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction (Howard/Hodder and Stoughton, January 2013)
  • The Divine Magician: The Disappearance of Religion and the Discovery of Faith (Howard/Hodder and Stoughton, January 2015)
  • Enduring Love: Tales of Tortuous Desire from the Lonely Forest (September 2018)
  • Producer and co-writer of Making Love (Magician's Niece, released December 2018). Based on an original script by Peter Rollins called The Gallows[64]
  • Producer of Extimacy: An Assent into Hell (Magician's Niece, June 2020)[65]
  • Producer of Outopia: A Descent into Heaven (Magician's Niece, June 2020)[66]
  • Producer of Allone (Magician's Niece, April 2020)[67]
  • Producer of Jamaica (Magician's Niece, original release 2015, re-edit October 2020)[68]
  • Co-writer and Producer of A Guide to Making Love (Magician's Niece, In production)


  1. ^ "Moody, Katharine, "The Church Emerging After the Birth of God"". syndicatetheology.com. Archived from the original on 29 April 2016. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  2. ^ Keefe-Perry, Callid Way to Water: A theopoetics Primer (Cascade Books, 2014), Loc 2232
  3. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p121
  4. ^ Rollins, Peter The Divine Magician (Howard, 2015) p95-96
  5. ^ Caputo, John What Would Jesus Deconstruct? (Baker Academic, 2007), pp129-134
  6. ^ "Ikon NYC". Facebook. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  7. ^ "Pyrotheology". Pyrotheology. 18 January 2013. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  8. ^ Higgins, Cathy Churches in Exile (Columbia Press, 2013), Loc 3011
  9. ^ Rollins, Peter The Fidelity of Betrayal (Paraclete Press, 2008), pp173-176
  10. ^ Caputo, John What Would Jesus Deconstruct (Baker Academic, 2007), p130
  11. ^ Higgins, Cathy Churches in Exile (Columbia Press, 2013), Loc 2994
  12. ^ "Northern Ireland, America and the Emerging Church Movement: Exploring the Significance of Peter Rollins and the Ikon Collective By Katharine Sarah Moody" (PDF). Journal of the Irish Society for the Academic Study of Religions. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  13. ^ "A Book Review of Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel's The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity By James Wellman". Patheos. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  14. ^ Keefe-Perry, Callid Way to Water: A theopoetics Primer (Cascade Books, 2014), Loc 2178
  15. ^ "The Troubles". BBC. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  16. ^ "The Good Friday Agreement". British Library. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
  17. ^ How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006) Back cover
  18. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  19. ^ Higgins, Cathy Churches in Exile (Columbia Press, 2013), Loc 109-292
  20. ^ Higgins, Cathy Churches in Exile (Columbia Press, 2013), Loc 3010
  21. ^ Higgins, Cathy Churches in Exile (Columbia Press, 2013), Loc 3037
  22. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  23. ^ https://globalcenterforadvancedstudies.org/faculty/peter-rollins/
  24. ^ Rollins, Peter How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006), pp18-19
  25. ^ Rollins, Peter How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006), pp26-29
  26. ^ Rollins, Peter How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006), pp45-46
  27. ^ Rollins, Peter How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006), pp42-45
  28. ^ Rollins, Peter How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006), pp77-145
  29. ^ Rollins, Peter How (Not) to Speak of God (Paraclete Press, 2006), pp23-26
  30. ^ Rollins, Peter The Fidelity of Betrayal (Paraclete Press, 2008), pp129-142
  31. ^ Rollins, Peter The Fidelity of Betrayal (Paraclete Press, 2008), pp49-50
  32. ^ Moody, Katharine "Retrospective Speculative Philosophy: Looking for Traces of Zizek's Communist Collective in Emerging Christian Praxis" Political Theology April 2012, Vol. 13 Issue 2, p183
  33. ^ Rollins, Peter. "Enduring Love: Tales From the Lonely Forest", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  34. ^ Rollins, Peter. "IMDB", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  35. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p5; see also Marti and Ganiel, The Deconstructed Church
  36. ^ Rollins, Peter Insurrection (Howard, 2011), pp19-39
  37. ^ Rollins, Peter Insurrection (Howard, 2011), ppxi-xv
  38. ^ Moody, Katharine "How to Eat Well in Church: Saying 'Yes' to the Other and Becoming Nothing in Derrida, Paul and Emerging Church Discourse" Presented at "Attending to the Other: Critical Theory and Spiritual Practice," International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture biennial conference, St. Catherine's College, University of Oxford, 23–26 September 2010
  39. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), pp22-23
  40. ^ Rollins, Peter Insurrection (Howard, 2011), pp164-171
  41. ^ Keefe-Perry, Callid Way to Water: A theopoetics Primer (Cascade Books, 2014), Loc 2192
  42. ^ Keefe-Perry, Callid Way to Water: A theopoetics Primer (Cascade Books, 2014), loc2192
  43. ^ "The only church that illuminates is a burning church – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)". Abc.net.au. 8 August 2011. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  44. ^ Keefe-Perry, Callid Way to Water: A theopoetics Primer (Cascade Books, 2014), loc2178-2289
  45. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), pp9-16
  46. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p22-24
  47. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), pp56-58
  48. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p58
  49. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), pp66-68
  50. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p72
  51. ^ Rollins, Peter The Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p24
  52. ^ "The Church is Fundamentalist on my Behalf". peterrollins.net. Retrieved 1 September 2013.
  53. ^ Rollins, Peter Insurrection (Howard, 2011), pp50-52
  54. ^ Keefe-Perry, Callid Way to Water: A theopoetics Primer (Cascade Books, 2014), loc2232
  55. ^ Rollins, Peter Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), pp9-24
  56. ^ Schendzielos, Erin Ed It Spooks: Living in Response to an Unheard Call (Shelter50, 2015), pp75-76
  57. ^ "A Church of Non-Christians By Peter Rollins"Huffington Post. 19 March 2013. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  58. ^ Rollins, Peter Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), p207
  59. ^ DeLay, Tad God is Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and Theology (Wife and Stock, 2015), ppix-xi
  60. ^ Rollins, Peter Idolatry of God (Howard, 2012), pp162-202
  61. ^ For instance he has worked extensively with poet and singer/songwriter Pádraig Ó Tuama and the artist Jonny McEwen
  62. ^ https://idolatryofgod.eventbrite.com/
  63. ^ James S. Bielo (2011). Emerging Evangelicals: Faith, Modernity, And The Desire For Authenticity. NYU Press. pp. 56–7. ISBN 978-0-8147-8954-4.
  64. ^ Rollins, Peter. "IMDB", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  65. ^ Rollins, Peter. "IMDB", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  66. ^ Rollins, Peter. "IMDB", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  67. ^ Rollins, Peter. "IMDB", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.
  68. ^ Rollins, Peter. "IMDB", Retrieved on 10 July 2019.

Further reading[edit]

  • What Would Jesus Deconstruct: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church By John Caputo (Baker Academic, 2007)
  • Toward A Hopeful Future: Why the Emergent Church Is Good News for Mainline Congregations By Phil Snider and Emily Bowen (Pilgrim Press, 2010)
  • Curating Worship By Jonny Baker (Seabury Books, 2011)
  • Preaching After God: Derrida, Caputo, and the Language of Postmodern Homiletics By Phil Snider (Cascade Books, 2012)
  • Churches in Exile: Alternative Models of Church for Ireland in the 21st Century By Cathy Higgins (Columbia Press, 2013)
  • The Deconstructed Church: Understanding Emerging Christianity By Gerardo Marti and Gladys Ganiel (Oxford University Press, 2014)
  • Way to Water: A Theopoetics Primer By L. Callid Keefe-Perry (Cascade Books, 2014)
  • Post-Secular Theology and the Church: A New Kind of Christian is A New Kind of Atheist By Katharine Sarah Moody (Cascade, Wipf and Stock, 2015)
  • Radical Theology and Emerging Christianity: Deconstruction, Materialism and Religious Practice By Katharine Sarah Moody (Ashgate, 2015)

External links

* * * * * *

John D. Caputo

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John D. Caputo
John David Caputo

October 26, 1940 (age 81)
Alma mater
Era20th-century philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
Doctoral studentsJames K. A. Smith
Other notable studentsTheodore George
Main interests
Notable ideas

John David Caputo (born October 26, 1940) is an American philosopher who is the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion Emeritus at Syracuse University and the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy Emeritus at Villanova University.[1] Caputo is a major figure associated with postmodern Christianity[2] and continental philosophy of religion, as well as the founder of the theological movement known as weak theology.[3] Much of Caputo's work focuses on hermeneuticsphenomenologydeconstruction and theology.


Caputo received his BA in 1962 from La Salle University, his MA in 1964 from Villanova University, and his PhD in philosophy in 1968 from Bryn Mawr College.


Caputo is a specialist in contemporary continental philosophy, with a particular expertise in phenomenologyhermeneutics, and deconstruction. Over the years, he has developed a deconstructive hermeneutics that he calls radical hermeneutics, which is highly influenced by the thought of the French philosopher, Jacques Derrida. Additionally, Caputo has developed a distinctive approach to religion that he calls weak theology. Recently, his most important work has been to rebut the charges of relativism made against deconstruction by showing that deconstruction is organized around the affirmation of certain unconditional ethical and political claims.

Caputo has a special interest in continental approaches to the philosophy of religion. Some of the ideas Caputo investigates in his work include the "religion without religion" of Jacques Derrida; the "theological turn" taken in recent French phenomenology by Jean-Luc Marion and others; the critique of ontotheology; the dialogue of contemporary philosophy with Augustine of Hippo and Paul of Tarsus; and medieval metaphysics and mysticism. In the past, Caputo has taught courses on Søren KierkegaardFriedrich NietzscheEdmund HusserlMartin HeideggerEmmanuel LevinasGilles Deleuze, and Jacques Derrida.

Positions held

Caputo taught philosophy at Villanova University from 1968 to 2004. He was appointed the David R. Cook Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University in 1993. Caputo was the Thomas J. Watson Professor of Religion at Syracuse University, where he taught in both the departments of philosophy and religion from 2004 until his retirement in 2011. He is emeritus professor at both Villanova University and Syracuse University and continues to write and lecture in both the United States and Europe. He is active in the American Philosophical Association, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy and he chairs the board of editors for the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory.

Notable former students of Caputo


  • (1978) The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought (Ohio University Press)
  • (1982) Heidegger and Aquinas (Fordham University Press)
  • (1986) The Mystical Element in Heidegger's Thought (Fordham University Press paperback with a new "Introduction")
  • (1987) Radical Hermeneutics: Repetition, Deconstruction and the Hermeneutic Project (Indiana University Press)
  • (1993) Against Ethics - Contributions to a Poetics of Obligation with Constant Reference to Deconstruction (Indiana University Press)
  • (1993) Demythologizing Heidegger (Indiana University Press)
  • (1997) The Prayers and Tears of Jacques Derrida (Indiana University Press)
  • (1997) Deconstruction in a Nutshell: A Conversation with Jacques Derrida, ed./auth. (Fordham University Press)
  • (2000) More Radical Hermeneutics: On Not Knowing Who We Are (Indiana University Press)
  • (2001) On Religion (Routledge Press)
  • (2006) Philosophy and Theology (Abingdon Press)
  • (2006) The Weakness of God (Indiana University Press)
  • (2007) After the Death of God, with Gianni Vattimo (Columbia University Press)
  • (2007) How to Read Kierkegaard (Granta; Norton, 2008)
  • (2007) What Would Jesus Deconstruct?: The Good News of Postmodernism for the Church (Baker Academic)
  • (2013) The Insistence of God: A Theology of Perhaps (Indiana University Press)
  • (2014) Truth [Philosophy in Transit] (Penguin)
  • (2015) Hoping Against Hope: Confessions of a Postmodern Pilgrim (Fortress Press)
  • (2015) The Folly of God: A Theology of the Unconditional (Polebridge Press)
  • (2018) Hermeneutics: Facts and Interpretation in the Age of Information (Pelican)
  • (2019) Cross and Cosmos: A Theology of Difficult Glory (Indiana University Press)
  • (2020) In Search of Radical Theology: Expositions, Explorations, Exhortations (Fordham University Press)
  • (2021) The Collected Philosophical and Theological Papers, Volume 3: The Return of Religion (John D. Caputo Archives)

See also


  1. ^ "John D. Caputo"Westar Institute. Retrieved 2021-03-17.
  2. ^ Camilleri, René (October 18, 2009). "Reinvent the Church"Times of Malta. Retrieved August 20, 2012.
  3. ^ "John D.Caputo"College of Arts & Sciences at Syracuse University. Retrieved 2021-03-17.

External links

Online writings