A number of people have asked me about the recent Poets Prophets Preachers conference. This is the second of four brief summaries and reflections of the conference highlights. These will be posts that are relevant for everyone – even those who do not consider themselves Poets Prophets or Preachers.

Toward a More Substantial Transformation – Peter Rollins

As I listened to Peter Rollins I had a giant whirlwind of thoughts going through my mind: This is hilarious! This is way over my head! This pushes my buttons! This is right on!

I believe that the main thrust of his two talks was that Christianity is about Substantial Transformation for the Good. Here are paraphrases of some of his lines.

The problem with much of our preaching is that we say we want to get people active, but we preach in ways that make them entirely inactive.

The problem with much of our religious practices is that while they appear to be the points of resistance toward the world, they are often the very things that keep us in the grip of the world’s powers.

The problem with tough-talking Fundamentalists is that their violent rhetoric is actually not violent enough. In reality they simply promote the status quo. God calls us toward a much deeper transform than they generally acknowledge.

We must be more radical … not just with our dogma, but by making real dramatic change. We need to work for substantial change, for true conversion of people and systems toward what God created them to be.

The church should be sites of insurrection in this massive revolution of good that God is bringing about in the world. We are called to be flash points of the revolution of the healing of the world.

Preaching should create experiences that foster dramatic change. In a genuine religious experience God is not another object in our world, rather God transforms all of the objects in our world.

Knowledge in Christianity is not limited to the knowledge of science – stale observations. Rather, when we experience true revelation: We fall in love, Our world is rocked, and We are not the same. True belief is proven more by our actions in the real world than by our words. What we do shows our belief more than what we say.

Rollins closed his second talk with a story about when he was asked if he denied the resurrection of Jesus. He replied, “Yes. Every time that I neglect the poor, every time that I participate in an unjust system, … I deny the resurrection of Jesus. But occasionally I affirm the resurrection, when I live like it is true.”