Posts Tagged richard rohr

Rohr: “Every time Paul uses the word flesh, just replace it with the word ego…”

Fr. Richard Rohr – is a Franciscan priest, Christian mystic, and teacher of Ancient Christian Contemplative Prayer.  He is the founding Director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.

 

Rohr1“The dialectic that we probably struggle with the most is the one Paul creates between flesh and spirit. I don’t think Paul ever intended for people to feel that their bodies are bad; he was not a Platonist. After all, God took on a human body in Jesus! Paul does not use the word “soma”, which literally means “body.”  I think what Paul means by “sarx” is the trapped self, the small self, the partial self, or what Thomas Merton called the false self. Basically, spirit is the whole self, the Christ self that we were born into and yet must re-discover. The problem is not between body and spirit; it’s between part and whole. Every time Paul uses the word “flesh” [sarx], just replace it with the word “ego’, and you will be much closer to his point. Your spiritual self is your whole and True Self, which includes your body; it is not your self apart from your body. We are not angels, we are embodied human beings.”  ~ From a meditation: “Paul as a Nondual Teacher“, Wednesday, May 17, 2017.

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Rohr: “The Jesus Hermeneutic”

Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, is a Franciscan Priest and contemporary Christian mystic.  He is a noted teacher, author, and lecturer and founding Director of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM.

 

Rohr1“You deserve to know my science for interpreting sacred texts. It is called a “hermeneutic.” Without an honest and declared hermeneutic, we have no consistency or authority in our interpretation of the Bible. My methodology is very simple; I will try to interpret Scripture the way that Jesus did.

Even more than telling us exactly what to see in the Scriptures, Jesus taught us how to see, what to emphasize, and also what could be de-emphasized, or even ignored. Jesus is himself our hermeneutic, and he was in no way a fundamentalist or literalist. He was a man of the Spirit. Just watch him and watch how he does it (which means you must have some knowledge of his Scriptures!).

Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive, and triumphalistic texts in his own Jewish Bible in favor of texts that emphasized inclusion, mercy, and justice for the oppressed. He had a deeper and wider eye that knew what passages were creating a highway for God and which passages were merely cultural, self-serving, and legalistic additions. When Christians state that every line in the Bible is of equal importance and inspiration, they are being very unlike Jesus . . . .

Jesus read the inspired text in an inspired way, which is precisely why he was accused of “teaching with authority and not like our scribes” (Matthew 7:29).”   ~ From “Yes, And…: Daily Meditations

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Rohr: There is no sacred and profane…

Rohr1“There are not sacred and profane things, places, and moments. There are only sacred and desecrated things, places, and moments— and it is we alone who desecrate them by our blindness and lack of reverence.” 

~ Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

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Rohr: “First-hand Experience”

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“. . . All knowledge of God is first-hand experience.”   ~  Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, from his homily 28 Feb 2016

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Rohr: “Thou Art That”

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Fr. Richard Rohr, Franciscan Christian mystic and contemplative.

“Theologically it is not correct for Christians to simply call Jesus “God” or to simply call him ” a man”.  He is manifesting a third something, not God, not human, but the combination of the two! And his existence says to all of us: THOU ART THAT!  YOU also manifest the same eternal mystery, each in your own way!  “Follow me!”  We did ourselves and Jesus no favor by simply calling him “God”.  We missed the very point that could have and could still transform the world.  We made the Christ Mystery into a competitive religion instead of an icon of transformation for everybody.  We made Jesus into an “exclusive” incarnation instead of an inclusive Savior.  He came to take us along with him, not to just say “look at me”.  The paradox was so big, so central, and so stunning that our ordinary dualistic minds could not comprehend it.  Only the “non dual” saints and mystics could process it and experience it.  But now YOU can too: Thou Art That!”  ~ Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

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Rohr: “But Christians made Christianity into a competition…”

Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM (1943-    ) is a Franciscan writer, teacher, mystic, and priest.  He is at the forefront of Western Latin Christian efforts to restore their lost contemplative prayer tradition.  He is the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, NM. and the Rohr Institute’s Living School for Action and Contemplation.  The Living School provides a course of study grounded in the Western Christian mystical tradition of the “Alternative Orthodoxy” of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Bonaventure, and Duns Scotus.

 

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Fr. Richard Rohr (1943- )

Simone Weil, French philosopher, sought a bridge between Judaism and Christianity. “Her great message was that the trouble with Christianity is that it had made itself into a separate religion instead of recognizing that the prophetic message of Jesus might just be necessary for the reform and authenticity of all religions.   But Christians made Christianity into a competition, and once we were in competition, we had to be largely verbal [as opposed to contemplative]; soon we were aggressive and, saddest of all, we became quite violent – all in the name of God,…”  ~  Yes, And Daily Devotional

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Apokatastasis – The Ancient Christian Idea That Won’t Die

I was reading a meditation by Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, a noted contemporary Christian mystic. One line caught my particular attention. He said, “God is calling everyone and everything to God’s self (Gen. 8:16-17, Eph. 1:9-10, Col. 1:15-20, Acts 3:21, 1 Tim. 2:4, John 3:17).”

Rohr’s quote above holds within it the possibility of a form of universal restoration or return of the entire created universe to God.  This is an ancient idea in Christianity, albeit a controversial one.  We can summarize the whole controversy in one Greek word:  ἀποκατάστᾰσις , [transliterated as apocatastasis] meaning restoration, re-establishment.

The concept of “restore” or “re-establish” is found in the Old Testament in the Hebrew verb שׁוּב (shuwb/shuv) and is used when referring to “restoring” of the fortunes of Job.  It is also used in the sense of “rescue” or “return” of captives, and in the “restoration” of Jerusalem.  In terms of shuwb as apocatastasis, Malachi 4:6 is the only use of the verb form of apocatastasis in the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament, ca. 250 – 100 BC; also abbreviated “LXX”). It reads:

“He will turn (restore –apokatastesei) the hearts of parents to their children and the hearts of the children to their parents, so that I will not come and strike the land with a curse.” (NRSV and LXX)

The word apocatastasis only appears once in the New Testament, in Acts 3:21. After healing a beggar, Peter speaks to the astonished onlookers. In his sermon, Peter places Jesus in a very Jewish context as the fulfilment of the Old Covenant, saying:

“[Jesus] whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring (apokatastaseos) all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.”

The idea of apocatastasis is supported further in the New Testament by the writer of 1 Timothy who declares that it is God’s will that all men should be saved (cf., 1 Timothy 2:4).

The concept of apocatastasis is also found in many writings of the early Church Fathers.  In early Christian theological usage, apocatastasis meant the ultimate restoration of all things to their original state, which early exponents believed would still entail a purgatorial or cathartic, cleansing state.  The meaning of the word was still very flexible during that time.  For example, Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215) generally uses the term apocatastasis to refer to the “restoration” of the mature, or “gnostic”, Christians, rather than that of the universe or of all Christians, but with universal implications.  The position of Origen (186–284) is disputed, with works as recent as the New Westminster Dictionary of Church History presenting him as speculating that the apocatastasis would involve universal salvation.  Most historians today would recognize a distinction between Origen’s own teachings (or at least those that have survived) and the theological positions of later “Origenists” (a later school of theological thought based on his teachings). A form of apocatastasis is also attributed to two sainted Cappadocian Fathers of the fourth century; both Gregory of Nyssa and Gregory of Nazianzus discussed it without reaching a decision.

Theological discourse continued until by the mid-6th century apocatastasis had virtually become a technical term referring, as it usually does today, to a specifically Origenistic doctrine of universal salvation.  An Anathema (a formal curse by an ecumenical council of the Church, excommunicating a person or denouncing a doctrine) against apocatastasis, or more accurately, against the belief that hell is not eternal, was formally submitted to the Fifth Ecumenical Council of Constantinople (AD 553). Despite support from the Roman Emperor Justinian, the famous Anathema against apocatastasis is not one of the Anathemas spoken against Origen by the fifth council.

As late as the 7th century, Maximus the Confessor (580-662) outlined God’s plan for “universal” salvation alongside warnings of everlasting punishment for the wicked. Maximus was very clear that the “telos”, the ultimate end, was a mystery.

So, why does the concept of Apocatastasis persist down to this day, in men like Roman Catholic Fr. Richard Rohr and Orthodox Metropolitan Kallistos Ware, in spite of the Western institutional church’s absolute obsession with the concept and threat of eternal hell, damnation, and torment? To me, it’s quite simple. The idea of apocatastasis persists because it appeals to a heart enlightened by the love of God.

The universe was created “good”.  It is God’s will that all men should be saved.  God is love.  Love is patient, kind, is not irritable or resentful, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things; Love never ends.  Greater is He (the Son, the Logos, the Word) that is immanent in the spirit of all created beings, than he (Satan, evil) who is in the world.   Deep in my heart, I believe that ultimately, in some future age, in the end (telos), God (Love) wins. (Gen. 1:31, 1 Tim. 2:4, 1 John 4:8, 1 Cor. 13, 1 John 4:4).

 

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