I’ve decided to break down Peter Rollin’s Insurrection chapter by chapter. Not so much as a book review, but more as a way to self reflect. I discovered Dr. Rollin’s work in September of 2010, prior to my husband’s death. It was after my husband’s death that I began to connect with the words I had just recently discovered. Insurrection is Pete’s best work to date. His message is becoming clearer, it is becoming hard to ignore. You need grace to read his books. Grace, and and an open mind. An ability to set aside beliefs you have held so tightly, for so long, and an desire to reflect on their core nature. It is not easy, but Christianity should not be.
“I’m a Christian! I’m a Christian!” – Chapter 1
Chapter 1 hits close to home for me, as much of Pete’s work does. He describes the moment at which a person loses their reason for living. Death of a beloved is one of his examples. It states that it is in these moments we come to realize as living beings we are not desiring a person, but rather desiring their desire of us. I get that. I miss having Matt around, not only to comfort me, but more to live life with me. What is raising children as a single parent? What is a home without someone to build it with? What is a hard days work without someone to talk to about it?
Do we bring God into these moments of our lives as a means of relief? Do we use God as a reason to go on hopefully, when there is no tangible hope left? Is God no more than a crutch we use in a broken world?
These questions bring up fear within us. We become angry, anxious, even violent. These type of questions can make Christians want to scream ‘heretic’, and avert their eyes. But could it be that as Christians we have averted our eyes long enough? It seems so overly obvious that Christ taught us how to live, and we are not living in this way. If we were living the way in which Christ taught us, things would radically change, but they are not changing.
Pete states in this chapter that “To believe is human”. We all want to believe, so finding people to believe is the easy part. If you don’t believe in God, you do believe in something, everyone does. Financial stability, evolution, social justice, science, or any other of a hundred life basing idols. Belief in God is not the issue, as all people desire to believe, it is the living as Christ that is hard.
So this chapter becomes an invitation to explore why we believe what we believe. To imagine ourselves for a moment without God. To imagine a God outside of suffering and loss. To engage in life that God is not where we turn in pain. It is an invitation to reflect deeper, something I sadly imagine most people would rather not do, but hope they might anyway.
“It is perfectly understandable that we would find ourselves desiring someone who would love us unconditionally and absolutely. An individual who would never cease caring for us, who would never leave our side, never die, and never tire of our presence.” Pg. 7