Book Review: Insurrection
Author: Peter Rollins
Publisher: Howard Books ISBN: 9781451609004
I have enjoyed the thought-provoking writing of Pete Rollins since getting my hands on and reading How (Not) to Speak of God around five years ago. Since reading that first book of his, I have been challenged, frustrated, stretched, inspired, enraged, and affirmed by each book I have read that has followed. Peter is that kind of thinker… that kind of writer. Insurrection remains true to the form set by those preceding works; it will stretch your mind, your heart, and the way in which you live out your faith.
I think, if I have understood this writing correctly, the overarching question of the book is this: “What does it require for faith in Christ to thrive?” This isn’t Rollin’s question; it is more my question as I worked through the book. As I was asking, and asking this question again, and again it seemed there was no sacred dog that Rollins was fearful of poking—and while this might be overly disturbing for some who might be unprepared to confront their beliefs asking themselves “WHY?” it can also be a very liberating experience that helps to root oneself deeply in their faith experience. Insurrection does this.
A few years back I purchased Peter’s book The Orthodox Heretic, a great little book of brain and heart teasing parables written by Rollins. I was happy to see him bringing his parables (assuming he wrote these) to Insurrection. He begins each chapter with a thoughtfully relevant parable. This served to “take my thinking out of park” and engage the gears of my listening skills and cognitive reasoning. You really need to be open with your thinking as you read the theology presented by Rollins in this work. This is not to say that I agree with every point he makes, but remaining open and listening well helps the reader interact with the processes Rollins presents…and interacting, processing, and wrestling are the actions that will produce faith fruit from this book.
Be prepared to be offended by some terms and some claims. If you’ve never read or listened to Pete Rollins, be prepared to have your faith doctrine tested… perhaps even shaken… be prepared to defend your version of truth, and be prepared to have your version of truth crushed. At some point of my reading and listening to Rollins, all of these experiences have been my own. I don’t consider this a bad thing. In fact, I trust the words that appear on the front cover and also that serve as the title of chapter two; “To Believe is Human; to Doubt, Divine. The Bible teaches us that we work out our salvation through fear and trembling. Insurrection might just give you the “shakes” you need that put you on the way to working out your salvation.