Modern Believing

That Which Does Not Kill Us: Responding to Friendly Fire

Modern Believing (2016), 57, (4), 405–420.

Abstract

In this article I respond to the other contributors to this special issue on Pyrotheology, drawing out and critically engaging one particularly pertinent point from each. I detail how those that facilitate Transformance Art gatherings occupy leadership roles only in order to expose the non-existence of the patriarchal God. I present what I see as the fundamental difference between Liberal Theology and Pyrotheology, which stresses not an underlying harmony and wholeness but the ontological priority of loss or lack as the ground of our being. I then propose that anxiety about this loss or lack is manifest in contemporary churches in the form of doubt and that religious believers should embrace such doubts. I also demonstrate how the embrace of doubt and deconstruction is a fundamentally affirmative affair, where loss and lack – commonly thought of as negative – is transformed into something positive. I conclude on a more biographical note, illustrating how the notion of Suspended Space is related to my experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland in order to show why these formative experiences of identity suspension continue to influence Pyrotheology.

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Rollins, Peter