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The Orthodox Heretic October 6, 2011


The Orthodox Heretic
and Other Impossible Tales
– Peter Rollins


This book is a perfect example of good things coming in small packages.  It’s a tiny hardback, black-cover (without the sleeve) that reminds me of my marriage manual.

This a book of tales; a book of parables.  Some are taken from the Bible.  Some are not.
Each one is a relatively short read, followed by a commentary.  There’s much wisdom here, as well as humor, suspense, and unexpected twists.
“In the parable, truth is not expressed via some detached logical discourse…
Parables subvert the desire to make faith simple and understandable.”

We look at “the true meaning of the phrase Word of God,” as Peter declares “it is impossible to affirm God’s Word apart from becoming that Word, apart from being the place where that Word becomes a living, breathing act.”

We view many of the parables of Jesus from slightly different perspectives, which can sometime render very different understandings.
Mr. Rollins believes, as do I, that we should not “treat the Bible as a type of textbook providing us with an ethical blueprint,” and that we must question “whether the Bible can be treated in this way without doing the teachings of Jesus a great injustice.”

The new insights on “turn the other cheek” were both eye-opening and, depressing.  We look at the kind of people Jesus was speaking to, and contrast that to the kind of people he was speaking about.  When we realize that “through the clothes we buy, the coffee we drink, the investments we make, and the cars that we drive,” we are often supporting slave labor and suffering, we can see ourselves not as the ones turning the other cheek, but rather, as the ones doing the slapping.
[That’s one reason my wife and I now only buy “fair-trade” coffee.  I know it may not be possible (or feasible) to eliminate all avenues of our negative footprints, but if we at least do something, we can make a difference.]

There’s a simply wonderful tale of a kind, well-respected elderly priest, and a jealous, self-absorbed prince who’s hell-bent on exposing the priest as a “coldhearted liar who sells the people lies in order to live.”  I had my wife, Kathy, read that one.  She didn’t see the “twist” coming, either.  It’s really good.
There’s also some fresh material on “the pearl of great price,” “the prodigal son,” “feeding the five-thousand,” and many others.

This anthology is, I think, perfect for short, meditative daily readings (or, as some prefer the term, “quiet-time.”).  It’s really not a book you should even attempt to read in one or two sittings, although it would be easy to do so.  At least half of the value of reading this book is the story-by-story personal reflection.
I didn’t know this was a collection of short stories when I ordered it. If memory serves me, I purchased this book on the recommendation of a Facebook friend. I do not recall which one. Whoever you are, “Thank You!” I loved “The Orthodox Heretic,” and will certainly be reading more writings of Peter Rollins.

– df

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

—————–

Quotes:

– The truth of faith is not articulated in offering reasons for suffering, but rather in drawing alongside those who suffer, standing with them, and standing up for them.  This is pastoral care at its most luminous.

– Religious belief can itself be a barrier to living the life of faith.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

– There is a Biblical injunction to question authority, regardless of who or what that authority is, when we believe that authority is not defending the persecuted.

– Christ is found in our interaction with others.

– Every description of God testified to in the Judeo-Christian tradition falls short. Refuse to let any conception of God take the place of God.

– We must question the difference between the heresy of orthodoxy, in which we dogmatically claim to have the truth, and orthodox heresy, in which we humbly admit that we are in the dark but still endeavor to live in the way of Christ as best we can.

Buy the book.  Click HERE.

 

3 Responses to “The Orthodox Heretic”

  1. Josh Says:

    I think I’d like this book. Thanks for posting, this is an interesting blog! 🙂 I’ll definitely be looking forward to future posts.

  2. […] look in Grace Florrick’s library, you’ll find copies of “A New Kind of Christianity,” “The Orthodox Heretic,” and most likely, “Velvet […]


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