Saturday
Jun272009

« Richard Rohr »

Ever since I saw him as a panelist in the documentary DVD A Crisis of Faith, I've been into the things Franciscan priest Richard Rohr has to say. His daily meditations arrive by email (sign up) and have some great things to ponder about the Christian life, but moreso, the authentic life of faith. Today's reads:

How am I on the edges of the system?

The Gospel doesn't bless the existing system; it leads us to the edges where freedom might be found. It does so in such a way that we can return to the world, without being addictively dependent on it any more.

We are able to return to the suffering and joys of this world, without letting ourselves be seduced by its false promises from either the political Left or the political Right. They both have their idolatries and they both have their blind spots. We hang with Jesus in the naked middle. The Gospel as Jesus taught it came from his Jewish and Prophetic background, which ended up pleasing neither side of the aisle?neither the status quo of the priests and Pharisees, nor the angry rebellion of the alienated and the Zealots.

Another goes like so:

What is it to hold beauty and pain?

Walter Brueggemann says the job of the prophet is to free people from their numbness. That is also the task of the church. It is to wake people up, to bring them to consciousness, and not just to comfort them in their unconscious state. I am afraid a lot of soft piety and too quick religious comfort does precisely that. The giveaway is when one finds no attitude of service, volunteerism, or compassion for the outsider emerging from one's attendance at church services.

True prophetic religion allows us to hold, suffer, and also enjoy all that God holds, suffers, and enjoys—which is everything—the good and the bad of our histories.

Rohr founded the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico and has been a prolific speaker and writer in his productive time, spending what I am told is half the year in his monastic mode, and carrying on as public figure the rest of the time. He does a lot of work in male spirituality and has a retreat that I am about to submit an application to, when I figure out where and when I want to attend. I missed the one in my back yard in Julian a couple months ago, only noticing it on the very day it started.

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