Sunday, November 19, 2006

In this Theological Discussion, God is Considered Optional

When a local theological group gathers Tuesday in a Kenmore Square office, its members won't be talking about God. They'll be talking about not talking about God.

The Boston Emergent Cohort hosts Peter Rollins, author of "How (Not) to Speak of God," for a 7 p.m. discussion at 655 Beacon St., Suite 301. The Cohort is part of a progressive Christian movement known as the Emerging Church, which seeks to encourage conversations among believers about Christianity's role in the modern world.

Rollins, who heads a church in Ireland, is a leading voice in the movement. A reviewer recently described his book as "powerful but frustratingly opaque."

Both qualities are likely to be on display at the event. Rollins is expected to discuss his proposal for "heretical orthodoxy," according to Jeff Gentry, a facilitator with the Cohort and pastor to a small home-based church in Beverly. Heretical orthodoxy means moving theology away from "a study of God as object, or a theology that seeks to believe the right things" and toward an idea of "Christianity as trying to live in the right way," Gentry says.

Anna Gerdeen, studying for a master's at Harvard Divinity School, became involved in the Emerging Church in her native Minnesota before moving to the area three years ago and connecting with the Cohort. Gerdee says she's seen increased interest in nontraditional religion.

"With the large number of students and young people in the area, people come into here from different backgrounds from all over the country, and different Christian traditions," she says, creating fertile ground for new ideas.~J.M. BERGER

this brief piece was included in the metro section of sunday's boston globe. props to anna for drawing my attention to the article. i appreciate mr. berger's interest in emergent and his unexpected inquiry. however, i would like to affirm that God will likely be a primary subject of, and hopefully participant in, our conversation on tuesday. moreover, i appreciate the fact that the writer quoted me correctly and wish the latter spelling of anna's last name was correct.

i hope that a number of you are joining us on tuesday for a beerworks dinner at 5:30 and a stimulating conversation with peter at 7 pm. if you're interested in picking up a copy of how (not) to speak of God we'll have copies available for $12 thanks to the generous folks at paraclete press.

for an interesting introduction to peter's thought, check out nick and josh's most recent podcast.*

* i haven't had the time to listen to the podcast myself, so i'm acting on complete faith here. nick and josh, don't let me down.


jackaway said...

dude--you are now the most famous person i know!!

josh said...

we'll do our best. we did name drop you on it. if that makes you feel any better.