“Excuse me, Russell, did you just compare Peter Rollins with Doug Wilson?”
Peter Rollins, the Irish post-Christian thinker who wrote The Idolatry of God as an earnest call to lay down our “addiction to certainty and satisfaction.”
Doug Wilson, the Christian reconstructionist who regularly debated atheist Christopher Hitchens on the lecture circuit.
These two are polar opposites. How in the world could they share anything in common?
Prophetic theater. That’s how.
Rollins builds his teaching around experience, dialogue, and encounter. Chief among these are the “Transformance Art” events that are uniquely crafted blends of music, drama, poetry, storytelling, and visual art. Sometimes these events can be quite arresting or shocking in their attempt to lead the audience to “… break free from the oppression of certainty and satisfaction, be honest with ourselves, and discover the courage to embrace life.”
Meanwhile, Wilson advocates the use of satire and pranking in ministry, calling it “Trinitarian skylarking.” He believes Christians should eschew the “axis of treacle” offered up by the contemporary evangelical powerhouses of Christianity Today, the contemporary Christian music industry, Wheaton college, the Christian Booksellers association, etc. Wilson plays rough in his language and in his actions.
And therein lies the similarity. Neither is interested in a mundane Christianity that is served up to appeal to the widest demographic. Neither is interested in blurring who they are for the sake of “Christian unity.” Neither seems to care what others think about their stances.
Perhaps we should learn.
I’m not a controversialist. While I learn from both Rollins and Wilson, I would not identify myself as being in either of their tribes. I’m not terribly interested in poking at people, provoking them in some kind of attempt to see Christ afresh.
Yet there is something about these guys that is compelling.
They’re like Ezekiel cooking bread over a dung fire. Jeremiah buying land in a crisis. Hosea marrying a whore.
Their actions are their art, their message, their prophetic theater.
They both push us to ask “Are you living life like it really matters”
And that is a really good question.
Soli Deo Gloria