Ironic how the original meaning of crucifixion, off being outside of the divinely given order has become the symbol for those who are within the divinely given order. Christendom.

Rollins says in page 101 that Paul describes a form of universalism as operating on a fundamentally different level by inviting everyone into a community in which everyone exists beyond or outside the operative power of any given identity, including a Christian one. What does this mean?

Based on what Rollins is saying about Paul, do we think that Paul would like the term "Christian?"

Page 108, "Paul understands participation in the life of Christ as involving the loss of power that our various tribal identities once held for us."

In context of what Rollins writes about "universalism that is captured in the idea of the Christian as the trash of the world invites us to identify with the one who is placed outside all systems" what has been the affect of Constantine's church?

10/20/14; 07:25:08 PM

Zombie movies have become popular in the last several years, what does the rise of zombie movies say about us?

The section "Give Me Freedom from the Pursuit of My Satisfaction" really speaks to me. In this section the focus is on obsession of the pursuit. Does the fact that "pursuit of happiness" is written in one of the founding documents of the United States say anything about that obsession?

Is selfishness natural or taught?

On page 79 Rollins writes, "Indeed, people who are driven to pursue something like wealth or fame are often painfully aware of this reality." If that is the case, why are people driven for more, even when it is to their detriment?

"What we see here is a concrete example of how the freedom to pursue our highest ambitions is often not experienced as a freedom from an oppressive system but is itself felt to be oppressive." (page 79)

How does the internal protest that Rollins describes on page 80 relating to parents, children and church?

Page 86, Rollins says the Good News of Christianity is, "You can't be fulfilled; you can't be made whole; you can't find satisfaction." Do you agree that this is good news?

Any comments on the reference to Ecclesiastes on page 91?

Any comments about Rollins' take on atonement theories on page 93?

10/19/14; 12:36:51 PM

All the stories that we tell ourselves about ourselves have a fictional quality. "A legend in our own mind."

That which we are conscious of in ourselves is called the ego. This ego is the image we have of ourselves, the image that we present on a daily basis through work, recreation, and social medial. (page 54)

Our real beliefs are generally not to be found at the level of ego; rather they are more like the operating system of a computer they are the heart of the machine that causes it to act in certain ways.

We all have mythologies that we have constructed and adapted from infancy. The problem arises when we fully identify with these mythologies, viewing them as a complete and accurate description of who we are and how the world works. These narratives help us prop up the fantasy that we are in control of our destinies and are masters of our own actions. (page 60)

What do you think of Rollins' explanation for Matthew 23:27-28? (page 62)

When we encounter a worldview different from our own, there are four common responses:

  • One is a form of consumption, by which we attempt to integrate the other into our social body. We attempt to persuade them that they should believe and practice in a particular way.

  • The second is a process of exclusion whereby we condemn and reject the other who cannot be consumed by us. "Vomiting the other out."

  • The third is toleration. There is an attempt to accept the other, even they they seem strange to us.

  • The fourth is a dialogue aimed at finding agreement. It is the idea that beneath all our little differences, we're really pretty much the same.

  • In each of these we stand over the other

A different way to approach the other involves placing ourselves beneath them in the sense of allowing their views to challenge and unsettle our own.

Literalistic listening is different than what we normally do where we filter what a person is saying through our own experiences. Example of what we normally do on page 68. In literalistic listening we take careful note of everything the other says from their position instead of quickly interpreting it in relation to our own position.

It means that we don't simply look at the other through our own eyes, but we attempt to look at ourselves through the eyes of the other.

The church often turns out to be the most extreme agent of this myth-making: it doesn't simply offer a narrative that tells us who we are, why we are here, and where we are going, but it tells people that this narrative has been directly delivered by the divine. (page 71)

The question that faces us, then, is how Christianity, in its most radical and subversive form, critiques the church and offers real freedom.

10/06/14; 08:05:20 PM

In this chapter Rollins spends more time deconstructing what is traditionally taught about Original Sin, Idolatry and the Law.

  • Original Sin: A sense of a gap in our lives

  • Idolatry: that which we believe will fill the gap, the answer to all our problems

Rollins says (on page 26) that "What we see taking place in the church today is the reduction of God to an Idol...the church ends up mimicking every other industry by claiming that they can take away the sense of loss that marks our life. Do you agree or disagree?

What is your understanding of the Law and its relationship to sin?

Page 28, According to Rollins, Paul writes about how the Law and sin are actually intertwined and exist on the same side. "For Paul, the Law is the 'no' that appears to be opposed to the very structure it actually creates and upholds."

Formula on page 29

Reaction to the following: "the 'no' that we are confronted with -- the Law -- turns what was previously an object that satisfies basic needs into an object of veneration. From that time forth we become little industries dedicated to the creation of Idols.

What is you understanding of the notion of "Total Depravity?"

  • Rollins says the phrase does not mean there is no good within us, but instead refers to the idea that there is no part of our existence that is not marked by and influenced by the effect of this separation (Original Sin) and alienation (Law). (page 30)

Why are movies based on the chase for the MacGuffin so popular?

Page 37, "One of the primary fuels for hatred of others in the fantasy that they have access to the pleasure that we unsuccessfully seek."

Page 39, "If we cannot have the Idol, then we wish to prevent the other from having it."

On page 40 Rollins defines sin within the context of what we have been discussing, "sinful acts are simply acts dedicated to helping us grasp the ever elusive Idol." Could include charitable work, marriage, church attendance, prayer, and random acts of kindness. Agree?

Page 41, "If an act is designed to bridge the gap between Original Sin and the Idol, then it falls into the theological category known in the biblical text as 'works.'"

Jesus bridges the gap. Really? Does it work?

  • Deferment

  • Repression

  • Disavowal

Three characteristics of the Idol:

  • We experience it as existing

  • It is felt to be sublime

  • That which is ultimately meaningful

Creatio ex nihilo

  • God creates out of nothing.... or

  • Out of nothing (Original Sin), a god is created (the Idol).

"the God testified to in Christianity exposes the gap for what it is, obliterates it, and invites us to participate in an utterly different form of life, one that brings us beyond slavery to the Idol." (page 48)

10/04/14; 04:01:34 PM

Last built: Mon, Oct 20, 2014 at 8:05 PM

By Frank McPherson, Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 4:01 PM.