Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Rohr's alternative orthodoxy - rich and deep words

Richard Rohr is a fascinating man, a Franciscan spiritual teacher. I've often heard him quoted but haven't read his books. However I was fascinated by listening to him talking with Rob Bell in a recent podcast. Rohr emphasises that Christian 'orthodoxy' is not what we think it might be, that there are richer and older perspectives with just as much right to be called orthodox. He sums up this alternative orthodoxy in seven tenets which are found in his book Yes, And...:
  • Methodology: Scripture as validated by experience, and experience as validated by tradition, are good scales for one’s spiritual worldview.
  • Foundation: If God is Trinity and Jesus is the face of God, then it is a benevolent universe. God is not someone to be afraid of, but is the Ground of Being and on our side.
  • Frame: There is only one Reality. Any distinction between natural and supernatural, sacred and profane is a bogus one.
  • Ecumenism: Everything belongs and no one needs to be scapegoated or excluded. Evil and illusion only need to be named and exposed truthfully, and they die in exposure to the light.
  • Transformation: The separate self is the problem, whereas most religion and most people make the “shadow self” the problem. This leads to denial, pretending, and projecting instead of real transformation into the Divine.
  • Process: The path of descent is the path of transformation. Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines.
  • Goal: Reality is paradoxical and complementary. Non-dual thinking is the highest level of consciousness. Divine union, not private perfection, is the goal of all religion. 

Each one of these seven statements contains such rich and deep insights that they could form a whole book in themselves. Much food for thought.