Peter Rollins on the Good News and IKON – his Evangelism Project

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Peter Rollins explains why the Good News of Christianity as that we are uncertain and have no idea.

I noted that Peter Rollins proposed that we embrace our brokenness and uncertainties instead of suppressing them with religious, political and/or social narratives that cover our anxieties and fears. He has made some incisive observations on human nature, such as people will not be satisfied even if they get what they want, realising the thing they wanted is not all that it was all hyped to be. He also noted that sometimes people envy others thinking they are having a good time because they got what they wanted, when they are actually not having a good time, and also sometimes people derive substitionary pleasure from pretending to be happy and look like they have a good time so that others may envy them.

The good news, as he proposed, then is not about trying to obtain happiness by worshipping a certain god but rather about acknowledging our brokenness and the fact that we don’t know any better than others. It will help people overcome, so to speak, the fear of the “otherness” in themselves, that they see in another person who happens to hold a different set of beliefs and practices from them.

IKON – The Evangelism Project

This is Peter Rollins’s project.

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Ikon – The Evangelism Project at Culture Night Belfast, Sept 23rd 2011

I have checked out the video on Ikon, the evangelism project. I noted that the speaker at the beginning of the video asked a question about where we stand in eternity and gave an interesting answer, saying that the reason he asked the question was because “I don’t have a clue”. He added that he used to be sure and certain, but he came to the point when he realised he was not able to justify his certainties. Another person responded to someone’s question on whether he was a christian or non-christian, and he answered that there was no believer or non-believer in him. I thought that was a good answer because our identity is ultimately not based on whether we believe in something or someone.

I think this is a meaningful and worthwhile project that gives a fresh meaning to the word “evangelism” as it shares the good news not in terms of promoting certainties but rather promoting the need and importance for people to embrace their uncertainties. It also encourages people to think for themselves what they believe about God and about love.

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This form of evangelism, or radical theology, as Peter Rollins coined it, would actually be helpful to foster peace and harmony among people of different belief systems because they will recognise and respect other people for having different beliefs and practices from them, and accept the otherness in themselves that they see in other people. When people come to this realisation, they will no longer see any need to “consume” others by trying to convert them to their own beliefs, or to eliminate others for being different or believing differently from them, or to exclude them from their own circles, because these impulses stem from the root cause of trying to suppress their own anxieties and uncertainties, and not facing and accepting the otherness within themselves, as Pete explained in the first video above.

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