Chris Yaw Interviews Peter Rollins: Growing Communities by Embracing Mystery


The unkeepable promise of certainty is what the world offers - and the Church shows its own fears when it tries to compete.

That's why author and theologian Peter Rollins urges congregations to embrace the truth of life's deep mystery and unknowing - as a way to open us up to God's presence and purpose.

This deep thinker, and founder of Ireland's IKON  Community, says the Church is at its best when it 'fesses up to its own foibles and frailties as a way to make room for God's redemption.


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The Church desperately needs a liturgical structure that will invites us to safely let out the ghosts in the haunted houses of our souls. Here are my notes from the interview:

Embracing the Difficulties

Humans want certainty - we're fearful people who yearn for safety - so the world offers it in attractive ways. However, the way of the Cross is one of faith, does not clothe itself in certainty, and instead asks us to be truthful about who we are - and whose we are.

Why I Don't Like My Enemies

Our rivals expose a part of ourselves we don't like to see. So instead of making peace with them, we war with them - and with ourselves. As Kierkegaard said, 'When you can accept yourself, you can change yourself.'

Church Should Be Like AA

Give your name, admit your guilt, and be present for those who are hurting. These simple rules of AA make it the most important 'spiritual development' of its kind in the 20th century, says Peter, and the Church will do well to mimic its authenticity, acceptance, and determination to do better.

About Peter Rollins

Peter Rollins is a writer, lecturer, storyteller and public speaker. He is also the founder of ikon, a faith group that has gained an international reputation for blending live music, visual imagery, soundscapes, theatre, ritual and reflection to create what they call 'transformance art'.

Peter gained his higher education from Queens University, Belfast and has earned degrees (with distinction) in Scholastic Philosophy (BA Hons), Political Theory (MA) and Post-Structural thought (PhD). He is currently a research associate with the Irish School of Ecumenics in Trinity College, Dublin and is the author of the much talked about How (Not) to Speak of God. His most recent work is entitled Insurrection. He was born in Belfast but currently resides in New York.

Books Peter Recommends

On Religion - John Caputo

Taken with permission from