Quote: Encounter the Other

Instead of approaching those with different beliefs and practices from a position of strength – in which we simply engage in the act of agreement or disagreement (which means comparing the other in relation to our own pre-established horizon) – literalistic listening asks us to approach from a position of weakness. It means that we don’t simply look at the other through our own eyes, but we attempt to look at ourselves through the eyes of the other.

The result is that, instead of seeing the other as strange and alien, we actually begin to encounter ourselves as strange and alien; we begin to glimpse how the things that we take to be eternally true are actually constructs with a history. Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with the other, we ask, ‘What do I look like to you?’ In doing this we do not simply filter what they say through our lens but are confronted by the reality of our lens.

Peter Rollins, The Idolatry of God (2013)

5 thoughts on “Quote: Encounter the Other

  1. Reminds me of Tony Kriz (the beat poet in Blue Like Jazz who isn’t really a poet) and his book Neighbors & Wise Men. He spoke at our church & I bought his book. Very thought-provoking & convicting about “the other.” I think you’d like it.


  2. I’ve been trying to use this approach…and actually “listened” to my version of eternity. It sounds very bizarre from the vantage point of someone who has no church background or has never read the Bible.



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