Friday, August 10, 2012

peter rollins & jay bakker


Here is a talk that Peter Rollins had with Jay Bakker a few weeks ago and I just loved it so much. The audio is here but I wrote out my favorite parts for posterity and also interested parties. 

Peter: “The law says ‘no, don’t don’t don’t’ with the idea that that’ll make you a better person. Some people in the church seem to think that love is an uber-no, you get these churches that have these discipline contracts and all of this like “if I say no enough that’ll change their behavior.” Whereas love is really kind of a big yes. Everything is permissible. Not everything is beneficial, but everything is beneficial. It’s a huge yes. Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel bad, just bring to the surface everything in a community of love that accepts you. [Then people go] “What? No, then people would just do anything they want.” No no no, the trick is this: the very place that you start to overcome the guilt that you’re not doing something is the very point that you’re more able to enter into the doing of it. So where you think the guilt is the very thing that’s making you do something – “I’d feel guilty so therefore I will do the right thing” – you actually take away the guilt and you are actually able to live into a more gracious and beautiful life over time.” (At about minute 29:00)

At about minute 33: “Sin for example is nothing to do with morality. …Sin comes from the term separation so it’s a sense that I’m separated from something that will make me whole and complete. … The law then comes in and it makes that even crazier. …The sense of separation which makes you want something combined with the prohibition that says you can’t have it generates the idea that that thing will really make me happy. It’s the core of the work that I do, right?  …Any object that makes you think you’ll be whole and complete is the idol so if you think God can make you whole and complete, God is the idol.”

At about 39:00 “I think what the role of the leader is is to say ‘I don’t know, we’ve got to work this out together. Let’s create a mature environment in which we can confront the very real issues that surround us and how best we think we can respond to the call. What is the call? The call is the other person’s face. The call is the other person’s humanity. How do we respond to that call?’”

At about 41:00: “Singer/songwriters and professional comedians, these are people who confront us with ourselves. So when you listen to a musician who is singing about brokenness, they’re not destroyed by it, they’re singing about it, they’ve in a sense robbed it of its sting. And as we listen to them sing about their brokenness, we come into contact with our own. We begin to work through it. If we had a direct confrontation with it we might crack up and die, but somehow the singer/songwriter is the one who weeps through music and like Kierkegaard says their lips are formed so that when the sigh and cry pass through them, it sounds like lovely music. And we then come into contact with our own brokenness. Comedians do a similar thing, they talk about the brokenness of their lives and laugh about it and help us encounter it. For me, the role of the church collective is that prayer and music brings us to a confrontation with ourselves. The idea that we are haunted houses, that we are full of ghosts of the ones we’ve loved and lost, the ones we’ve hurt, the ones who have hurt us, and it helps us confront the fact that we’re haunted houses and that the ghosts are there not because they can’t let go of us but because we can’t let go of them. And that’s the kind of community that’s offensive in all of the right ways.” Jay: “But without anxiety?” Peter: “Well, you bring the anxiety to the surface. You know, the things that you try to hold down, the false narrative that you use to talk about yourself, the ‘I’m all right, I’m fine, I’m sorted, everything’s good’ which you see cracks in when you’re dreaming at night, you have nightmares or you have a few drinks and see the stuff that seeps out. Our waking life is ironically our dream life, right, so this dream life that we’re in, the rule of the collective is to wake us up a little bit from that. Not so that we get depressed about our brokenness, but so that we overcome it, rob it of its power.”

46:00 Jay: “The church has become a place where they say ‘Be transparent’ but as soon as you are you know you’re going to have to pay a price for that transparency, which causes you not to be honest anymore.”  Peter: “If you are just able to repress one part of you through the sheer knowing of the law and sheer self will, it will come out in other ways. But if you begin to work through and bring it to the surface the idea is it is not going to manifest in other unhealthy symptoms.”

Peter was in town this week and we saw him yesterday
and my daughter drew him a picture of a toilet.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much for sharing these. Puts me in mind of the Gospel of Thomas, 'if you bring forth that which is within you it will save you.' And its shadow twin, 'if you do not bring forth that which is within you, it will destroy you.'

Also the idea that sin is simply a state of separation from the great holiness, and not a matter of moral transgression. This is much more useful for me than the practice of assigning a moral value to sin and weighting that value heavily with shame. This shaming moralism is itself a serious sin, that is, a serious separating factor. It puts up extra walls instead of dissolving them.