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Posts tagged "Richard Rohr"

Another Week Ends: Too Much Fun, Deflating Pikachu, Rock’N’Roll Church, Lovely Creatures, Facebook Grief, Self-Control, and The Forbidden Apple

Another Week Ends: Too Much Fun, Deflating Pikachu, Rock’N’Roll Church, Lovely Creatures, Facebook Grief, Self-Control, and The Forbidden Apple

1. “Are We Having Too Much Fun?” asks Megan Garber, in this week’s Atlantic, re-examining the objections of renowned tech-skeptic Neil Postman. Postman cautioned against a society focused too heavily on entertainment — a bitter pill to serve this Golden Age of TV that so often leaves us viewing life as a well-crafted episode. Moreover, Garber argues, when our entertainment is also our news (think […]

The Laws of Personality in <i>The Road Back to You</i>

The Laws of Personality in The Road Back to You

I felt a wave of relief when I pulled my copy of Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile’s new book, The Road Back to You from the box. The dust jacket design was restrained and inoffensive. Why relief? The cover of Richard Rohr’s 1990 book, Discovering the Enneagram, the first  popular book on the subject, looked […]

Richard Rohr on Why We Kiss the Cross

Richard Rohr on Why We Kiss the Cross

The “performance principle” is a guiding mythology that, according to Richard Rohr, guides the first half of our religious lives. It is the mythology that suggests we are defined, more or less, by our achievement. It is also a mythology that is rooted in and propelled by fear: the expectation of punishment. Our achievements are meant to secure […]

Jungian Bandages and the Two Halves of Life We're Still Living

Jungian Bandages and the Two Halves of Life We’re Still Living

Mary Karr’s new book on memoir begins with this epigraph from Thomas Merton. It is about the false self we all carry with us. It is amazing. Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. I wind my experiences around myself and cover myself with glory like bandages in order […]

Richard Rohr Goes to an AA Meeting in Albuquerque

Richard Rohr Goes to an AA Meeting in Albuquerque

America’s favorite Franciscan dropped a doozie of a daily meditation the other day, one too relevant not to pass on. It is drawn from his book Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps. Here’s the lion’s share, but you can read the full text here, ht JE: The spirituality of the Twelve Steps is another important part […]

A Quick Quote from Richard Rohr

fallingupwardA quote by Richard Rohr recently struck me, from Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life. Rohr admittedly sounds new-agey sometimes, and this is no exception, but he talks in the book about how things fall apart from the “first half” of life, characterized by identity-building and Law, and then the “second half” – analogous to what we might call life under the cross – happens. This second moment is marked by mystery, surrender, destitution, and spiritual maturity, traits which often go together, as Rohr’s monastic tradition remembers. How does this passage from worldliness to spirituality, identity-building to identity-surrender, life under law to life under grace, happen? At Mbird, we talk a lot about theology of the cross, the idea that suffering can expose the pride and futility behind our self-justification schemes and free us from their burden. (It’s not the healthy who need a doctor anyway, but the sick.) Rohr describes this transition in his own, to me fresh, way:

Today we might use a variety of metaphors: reversing engines, a change in game plan, a falling off the very wagon that we constructed. No one would choose such upheaval consciously; we must somehow ‘fall’ into it. Those who are too carefully engineering their own superiority systems will usually not allow it at all. It is much more done to you than anything you do yourself, and sometimes nonreligious folks are more open to this change in strategy than are religious folks who have their private salvation project all worked out. This is how I would interpret Jesus’ enigmatic words, ‘The children of this world are wiser in their ways than the children of light’ (Luke 16:8)…

The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling or changing or dying. The ego is the part of you that loves the status quo, even when it is not working. It attaches to past and present, and fears the future.

The rest of Rohr’s book explores the mechanism of this transition, and I think he does well to remind us, that God’s work to change is often deconstructive, undesired, even violent. And it reminds me that whatever else people might say about the Bible, its books are some of the only ones written with sufficient originality to speak against the grain of any time or place or culture, since it speaks against the Adamic ego itself. And he does well to remind us that nonreligious people often do best with the message; early Christianity got the most traction among Gentiles, after all. Which means that, far from the prevalent American model of preaching the Gospel to unbelievers and (baptized) self-improvement to the ‘mature’, we religious people need the message just as deeply as anyone – though we’re more likely to resist it.

You Are Definitely Not Your Introspections

You Are Definitely Not Your Introspections

In last week’s Op-Ed, David Brooks asked whether or not “knowing thyself” is possible and, if it is, where it can be separated from the pitfalls and stagnation of narcissism. Self-awareness, argues Brooks, is a “perfect breeding ground for self-deception, rationalization and motivated reasoning.” This happens when we get a little too close to the […]

A Few from Richard Rohr's <i>Everything Belongs</i>

A Few from Richard Rohr’s Everything Belongs

I’m reading Richard Rohr’s recent mainstream classic, Everything Belongs. He’s sort of the other Brennan Manning, a Franciscan monk with a mystical bent, but also dripping with a “theology of the cross” train of thought (note: for what it’s worth, I know a few folk personally who have been helped tremendously by Rohr). Here are […]