After recently attending Pete Rollins’ “Positive Power of Negative Thinking”, in Belfast’s Redeemer Central seemingly abandoned church, I’m looking at my life in new and different ways. I didn’t think my thoughts were negative, in fact I thought they were positive, as I sought to ‘replace’ the husband I lost to leukaemia at the age of 36. I had always felt that love was my greatest asset, and that had been taken from me. Yes I loved my children, but that is a different sort of love. I felt that what I needed was a love that would be returned in an adult way. And yes, I found it, several times, but looking back now, there were only 3 out of the 7 relationships I had in the ensuing years that I could call loving in the truest sense. And each one of these, as well as each of the ‘less’ loving relationships, ended, three by my own wish, one by his, and the others due to death or serious illness, though another which never really got off the ground still exists in a friendship sort of way. All dissolved, leaving me still hankering after a new relationship, which was what I thought I really needed.
Listening to Pete, I began to consider whether this was indeed what I needed, for my own sanity. Pete explored how ‘the religious drive for certainty and satisfaction continues unabated in contemporary society, and how this drive is ultimately destructive, and how we might find salvation from it by cultivating a life marked by the courage to embrace death’. I felt that as each time I was disappointed, I had started again looking for that certainty and satisfaction, only to be disappointed yet again. I needed to find redemption from this drive! To embrace death and disappointment, and accept the good things I have in my life. the Good News that we can’t be satisfied, that life is difficult, and that we don’t know the secret.
*Belfast born philosopher Peter Rollins has become a controversial figure on the international stage with his development of a (pyro)theological practice that celebrates doubt, complexity and ambiguity, that resists secular and saintly promises of wholeness, that transcends the theist/atheist divide, and that preaches the Good News of a life before death. Perhaps the only thing that is stranger than his radical, religionless vision of Future Church is the fact that it’s starting to catch on: Finding Redemption from Certainty and Satisfaction. Pete is a provocative writer, philosopher, storyteller and public speaker who has gained an international reputation for overturning traditional notions of religion and forming “churches” that preach the Good News that we can’t be satisfied, that life is difficult, and that we don’t know the secret.
Peter gained his higher education from Queens University, Belfast and has earned degrees (with distinction) in Scholastic Philosophy (BA Hons), Political Theory (MA) and Post-Structural thought (PhD). He is the author of numerous books, including Insurrection, The Idolatry of God, and The Divine Magician. He was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, currently lives in Los Angeles and will die somewhere as yet unknown.*
- quoting from his facebook page