Rollins breathlessly invites us to cast aside these god-shaped idols that we cling to in the name of religion. Rather than fleeing our moments of anxiety and groundlessness, what if we allowed ourselves to feel the radical abandonment by God that Jesus experienced on the cross? What would happen if we confessed – first to ourselves, then to others – that we do not understand the universe that we live in, that it does not make sense to us? Paradoxically, Rollins insists that the only way to truly encounter God is to fully experience the desolation of God’s absence.
This is particularly challenging for those of us whom God calls to proclaim the gospel. What is the role of existential doubt, despair and a felt sense of abandonment by God in this proclamation? Surely, all of us have experienced this sense of groundlessness and loss in our own lives. A sense of God’s absence is certainly a regular part of my spiritual experience. Yet, it is not the whole of it.