Modern Believing

(Not Your) Grandpa’s Church Service: Pyrotheology’s Familial Resemblance to Liberal Theology and the Possibilities for Political Liturgy

Modern Believing (2016), 57, (4), 349–361.

Abstract

This article explores the relationship between the liberal theology of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and Peter Rollins’s Pyrotheology, which I present here as a theological methodology that encourages the questioning of beliefs and the embracing of doubt. I highlight the family resemblances between these two theologies, focusing on their emphasis on individual experience and their engagement with society and culture. I explore how liberal theology might be emboldened by the deconstructive spark of Pyrotheology, and how Pyrotheology might be enriched by the social justice torch of liberal theology. I argue that the pyrotheological liturgical practice of Transformance Art could be the site of a more constructive engagement between Pyrotheology and liberal theology, serving to move the former’s often inward focus toward more outward work for justice in the world.

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Osinski, Keegan