Saturday, October 15, 2011

peter rollins demands what he already has

It's amazing, really, the kinds of things people can whine and complain about. I've heard of instances where a child can be in a room filled with toys, and for reasons only speculated on begin to cry. Perhaps it's because the one kind of toy they wanted wasn't among the riches they had before them, maybe it's because there were so many option that they simply couldn't figure where to begin, but just like those kids, some people will cry about the wealth of things about them.

Peter Rollins does that here.

Please Give Me Freedom From The Pursuit of Happiness

Something that I am exploring at the moment in my writing is the way that the pursuit of that thing which we believe will satisfy our soul is deeply destructive. It is a common belief that society will function best when its population is able to pursue what they desire. A pursuit that is constrained in only minimal ways (protecting others, making sure that contracts are honored etc.). The idea is that a happy society is one in which we have the ability, hypothetically at least, to gain the fame, money, relationship, creative venture, lover etc. that we seek. If these dreams are not even unlikely but practically impossible to achieve then, whether we realize it or not, we effectively live in a type of oppressive, totalitarian society that will lead to nothing but a discontented, depressed and angry population.

So, considering how Rollins likes to rip things inside out--turning traitors into heroes, making defiance and disobedience the marks of true love for God, and the hope for Heaven into a selfish desire--we can imagine where he's going with this.

What we see here is the way that the freedom to pursue our highest ambitions is not experienced as a freedom from some oppressive system but is itself often felt to be deeply oppressive. This is something that Mother Teresa noted when she visited the US. During her time she noted a poverty and oppression that hid in the material wealth and political freedom enjoyed here. For such political freedom often leads to a society with greater material wealth and better opportunities for the population. Things that are to be valued highly. However unless we also have the freedom from the pursuit of our highest ambition this political freedom, far from offering us an escape from oppression, can be experienced as one of the most psychologically powerful forms of oppression.

Oh, so, the right to pursue happiness is actually a type of oppression and totalitarianism. Gotcha.

Coming up, how the right to life actually makes death a good thing, and the right liberty is actually slavery. How freedom of speech actually curtails speech, how the freedom to assemble peaceably actually means we can't assemble at all, and how the right to bear arms means we are all defenseless.

Hey, it's Peter Rollins' world, you're just not ripped open enough.

What if we had sites in our life where we could be free from the pursuit of our highest ambition?

This is amazing illogic because, quite simply, he just mangles the whole concept of the right to pursue happiness. He bring down to such things as money and fame, and that's about it. But the right to pursue happiness is not a guarantee one will find happiness, or for that matter that one will get money or become famoues or achieve the things one wants, and it certainly doesn't mean one will find happiness in money or fame or goals.

And the right to pursue happiness also means that one does not have to pursue money or fame or achievement.

That is the freedom Rollins already has--he doesn't have to pursue riches, fame, achievement, if he darned well doesn't want to. He's the one who's been putting himself forwards, speaking before groups, writing books, and basically trying to make a name for himself and get his ideas out there.

If Peter Rollins wants to stop pursuing these "highest ambitions", I'm all for him doing that. He can not write any more books, he can not go on any more speaking tours, he can not preach any more sermons in churches or bars where he spreads his unbiblical teachings, and I'd be pleased as can be if he were to do so.

So, Mr. Rollins, quit whining, and if you're not going to repent of thinking you're smarter than God, than at least fade away. We'll all be happier if you did so.

One more thing.

This is one of my visions for the reconfigured church – a community that is not a place where we go to pursue some highest pleasure (heaven, ecstatic experience, an escape from our everyday life) but rather the place where we lay all that down and learn how to smile deeply about the here and now.

What an absolute waste of church service that would be. Church is not about us, Mr. Rollins, and it's not about living in the here and now. It's about God. It's about Christ, who died as a sacrifice for our sins, even yours Mr. Rollins, even mine, so that through repentence and faith in Him we can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. Church isn't about the here and now, except insofar as "today is the day of salvation, now is the accepted time".


rd said...

brilliantly ignorant. hooray.

jazzact13 said...

Your comment is rather unclear, rd. Are you saying that my post is "brilliantly ignorant"? If so, would you please explain why? What have I written here that shows ignorance?