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Peter Rollins on the Radical Theological Tradition

I first encountered Peter Rollins’ work through his How (Not) to Speak of God in about 2006. Instantly, I became enthralled. For the first time I felt as if a pastor understood where I was coming from and what I was trying to do. I had already encountered this approach into Christianity through my minimal contact with Mark Taylor (Erring: A Postmodern A/theology) and John D. Caputo (Against Ethics), but they were theologians, not pastors. They weren’t trying to bring it to life amidst a flesh and blood community. Ever since first contact, I’ve been a fan.

It wasn’t until later that I realized there was a theological tradition involved here. Rollins is a “radical theologian,” which means he’s coming from the radical tradition. It is the tradition with which I most resonate at the moment. This resonance is why I’ve been exploring Thomas JJ Altizer (here and here) on ECF-Net. Rollins reads very differently than Altizer. Yet, the connection is distinct. While they both talk about the death of God, they are also clearly driven in their quest for the Divine.

My understanding of radical theology seems a bit different than Rollins’. Yet, he is an actual philosopher whereas I just wing it, so I will defer to him for accuracy. In the following video he introduces non-academics to the distinctives of the radical tradition. Brace yourself for information overload. This is a lot for ten minutes, so you may need to watch it more than once.