Spirituality Quote for the Day

RedBlossomInForest“Spiritual seeking, when it is done by the false self, might be the biggest problem of all. …. Is it any surprise that America has churches on every corner and yet remains a highly racist, materialistic, militaristic, and superficial culture? We have found the way to feel good about ourselves and to think badly of everybody else that is not like us. Only one thing is more dangerous than the individual ego, and that is the group ego. Religion produces saints and very whole people, but it also produces and protects people with high capacities for delusion and denial.”

From ‘Contemplation’ as the False Self, in Contemplation in Action, Richard Rohr and Friends, A Crossroad Book, 2006 (pp. 80-81)

“…so unlike Jesus and the God he loved…”

WeepingJesusToday many would say that Christians have become major purveyors of exclusion, guilt, and shame for too many of its own people, and surely for the other religions, instead of absorbing shame, healing guilt, and living in solidarity with human suffering as Jesus did so clearly on the cross. No wonder so many no longer take us seriously. We are so unlike Jesus and the God he loved. Jesus was totally inclusive in his entire public life, and yet we created an exclusionary religion in his name. It makes no sense.

from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation: Whoever Told You That You Were Naked (Nov.9 2013)

Richard Rohr: Patriotism as the False Sacred

Today’s meditation from Richard Rohr probably sounds like blasphemy to millions of American fundamentalists, especially those who believe in that oh-so-not-Christian idea of “American Exceptionalism.”

“Jesus is Lord” (Romans 10:9) was proclaimed by the early church, as their most concise creedal statement. No one ever told me this was a political and subversive statement, until I learned a bit of Bible history. To say “Jesus is Lord!” was testing and provoking the Roman pledge of allegiance that every Roman citizen had to proclaim when they raised their hand to the imperial insignia and shouted, “Caesar is Lord!” Early Christians were quite aware that their “citizenship” was in a new universal kingdom, announced by Jesus (Philippians 3:20), and that the kingdoms of this world were not their primary loyalty systems. How did we manage to lose that? And what price have we paid for it? (More)

“The mystery of the Incarnation…..”

FeetCloseup“….is precisely the repositioning of God in the material world once and forever. Continual top-down religion often creates very passive, and even passive-dependent and passive-aggressive Christians. I know this as a Catholic priest for over 40 years. Bottom-up, or incarnational religion, offers a God we can experience for ourselves. We have nothing to fight or prove, just something to know for ourselves. This is what we are about to celebrate at Christmas.”

from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation

Richard Rohr on Intimacy

Reflections

“One’s biggest secrets and deepest desires are usually revealed to others, and even discovered by ourselves, in the presence of sorrow, failure, or need when we are very vulnerable and when one feels entirely safe in the arms of someone’s love….People who have avoided all intimacy normally do not know who they are at any depth—and cannot tell others who they are.”

From Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation, Nov. 14, 2012

786 Years Ago Today

Francis of Assisi died.  Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone was 45 years old (b. 1181; d. Oct. 3, 1226).  His view of himself and the world is an utterly Christian, incarnational view, seeing in all creation the wonderful and sustaining presence of the Divine.  The sun and the moon, the earth and the mountains, vegetation and animals and all humanity are bursting with the Spirit of God.

Perhaps this is why Francis and the orders of friars and sisters who bear his name today are so appealing to God’s LGBT children.  Having been told by others with a more dualistic outlook that our bodies and desires are merely sources of sin, LGBT people (and all people, really) experience in the flesh the untruth of such assertions. What Francis knew almost eight centuries ago so many of us, our fellow Christians, and especially our Church leaders are still learning.

Franciscan Father Richard Rohr puts it this way (reblogged from his Daily Meditation):

Richard's Daily Meditations

St. Francis of Assisi by Nancy Earle, SMIC.

FRANCISCAN MYSTICISM

In most paintings of people waiting for the Holy Spirit they are looking upward, with their hands outstretched or raised up, the assumption being that the Holy Spirit will descend from “up” above. In the Great Basilica in Assisi where St. Francis is buried, there’s a bronze statue of him honoring the Holy Spirit. His posture and perspective are completely different from what we have come to expect. He’s looking down into the earth with expectation and desire! This is the change of perspective that became our alternative orthodoxy—although it should have been mainline orthodoxy! He was merely following the movement of the Incarnation, since Christians believe that the Eternal Word became “flesh” (John 1:14), and it is in the material world that God and the holy are to be found.

Francis recognized and took to the logical conclusion the implications of the Incarnation. If God became flesh in Jesus, then it is in the world, the physical, the animal, in the natural elements, in human sexuality that God must be found. Speak of embodiment, physicality, and the world—use whatever words you want—these are the hiding places and the revelation places of God. This is how Christianity was supposed to change everything. Most of us just kept looking up, when God in Jesus had, in fact, come down. (This is the foundation of Franciscan mysticism.) On this day in 1226, Francis died at sunset and asked to lie naked and exposed on the earth as he died. The friars were embarrassed, but conceded to his wish. Now you know that it made total sense.

From an unpublished talk in Assisi, Italy, May 2012

Silence, Not Pushing, and the Stillness of God

Silence is the necessary space around things that allows them to develop and flourish without my pushing. God takes it from there, and there is not much point in comparing who is better, right, higher or lower, or supposedly saved.

(from Silence, by Richard Rohr)

One of my many Achilles’ heels is the tendency to push, to poke, to analyze, to discuss, to pull-apart a situation until there’s nothing left. Today I pray for the gift of allowing this dimension of Silence to surround all my work, my relationships, and my encounters with others.

As Fr. Rohr says, let us listen to Stillness, the language  of God.

Red Rock Canyon, Nevada