embracing the darkness, or walking in the light?

Peter Rollins has a following, and I’m not one to comment on him, much less do a post or more, since I’ve not read much from him (I was interested in attending something the last time he was in our area, but couldn’t make it). What I might say in regard to his teaching is that it seems to suggest or promote the idea that we should embrace the darkness as followers of Jesus, so that there ends up being nothing left, not even God himself. Just what Peter means in that, I’m not sure, except to add that for him everything ends up essentially meaningless, if I read him correct elsewhere (partly, I gathered, or remember, in his thinking on Ecclesiastes). Perhaps I have wrongly synthesized his thought here. But doubt to the point of agnosticism, seems to be the direction in which he as gone, and I take it, all in the name of Jesus. Perhaps he is suggesting this as strictly existential, that is experiential.

Here is the Apostle (I take it) John, and his testimony:

This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.

This doesn’t answer Peter Rollins directly, but John’s teaching sheds light in our lives, in our walk, indeed on the meaning of life for us in and through Jesus. In Christian teaching, indeed in the teaching of scripture, darkness gives way to light. But the “dark night of the soul,” as it is called in the great Christian mystical tradition, is not at all to be despised, but even embraced. So that God’s light in Jesus might become the light of our lives, rather than our own lights, such as the light of our own understanding. Indeed, the testimony of scripture confirms that, as well.

Am I misunderstanding Peter Rollins, or what he is getting at? Is there a place for darkness, and not knowing, as followers of Jesus? We are called to walk in the light as Jesus himself is in the light, together in him for the world.



2 comments on “embracing the darkness, or walking in the light?

  1. nancy says:

    It is good to walk in the light. To see our way through the darkness.

    • That’s a good way of putting it, Nancy: to see our way through the darkness. We still struggle with darkness one way or another. And so seeing our way through that through God’s light in Jesus, I guess is the point.

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