Posted on: May 24th, 2009 Peter Rollins & Liturgy

I have a great deal of respect for Peter Rollins. Both of his two recent books are provocative and stimulating. What I appreciate about him is that he brings his knowledge of “postmodern” theory (Zizek, Derrida, Levinas, and others) to bear on Christian theology. Rightly so.

However, when it comes to what I regard as “the great divide” in the Church and in Christianity, Peter Rollins falls clearly on one side.

One side says that our worship is an expression of our theology and our convictions. The other side says that worship is something that we simply inherit from the past (as tradition or in Greek paradosis, ie, “handing down”) and then (yes, critically) reflect on that received tradition and ask questions like “In light of this way of worshiping, what can we realize about God and creation?”

Rollins clearly lands of the former side. Which means that he, along with, perhaps, the rest of the “emergent movement,” thinks that worship is, at the end of the day, an expression of our theology.

I disagree. I, along with the bulk of the catholic tradition in both the east and the west, think that “the law of worship is the law belief.” Lex orandi, lex credendi. Our theology flows from our worship, and not vice-versa.

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