Monday, October 24, 2011

Contemplative seeing of the doctrine of the cross

This is from the book Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr.
Today is the final of 4 classes on the book and it was been a really interesting time for me.
We are giving this out as a handout - which is at the conclusion of the book.
Richard Rohr has truly become one of my mentors in this spiritual journey.

A Contemplative Seeing of the Doctrine of the Cross

• God is to be found in all things, even and most especially in the painful, tragic, and sinful things, exactly where we do not want to look for God
• Human existence is neither perfectly consistent, nor is it incoherent chaos. It is a “coincidence of opposites”, a collision of cross-purposes; we are all filled with contradictions needing to be reconciled.
• The price that we pay for holding together these opposites is always some form of crucifixion. Jesus himself was crucified between a good thief and a bad thief, between heaven and heart, holding on to both his humanity and his divinity;
• Christians call this pattern “the paschal mystery": true life comes only through the journeys of death and rebirth wherein we learn who God is for us.
• We should not be surprised or scandalized by the sinful and the tragic. Do what you can to be peace and to do justice, but never expect or demand perfection on this earth.
• We must resist all utopian ideologies and heroic idealisms that are not tempered by patience and taught by all that is broken, flawed, sinful, and poor.
• The following of Jesus is not a “salvation scheme” or a means of creating social order, as much as it is a vocation to share the fate of God for the life of the world.
• Those who agree to carry and love what God loves, which is both the good and the bad of human history., and to pay the price for its reconciliation within themselves - these are the followers of Jesus, - the leaven, the salt, the remnant, the mustard seed that God can use to transform the world.
• These few are enough to keep the world from its path toward greed, violence, and self destruction.
• Institutional religion is a humanly necessary but also immature manifestation of this “hidden mystery” by which God is saving the world.
• By God’s choice and grace, many seem to be living this mystery of the suffering and joy of God who do not formally belong to any church. Any many who have been formally baptized have the right words but not the transformative experience.
• The doctrine, folly, and image of the cross is the great clarifier and truth-speaker for all of human history. I personally do not believe that Jesus came to found a separate religion as much as he came to present a universal message of vulnerability and foundational unity that is necessary for all religions, the human soul, and history itself to survive.
• The contemplative mind is the only mind big enough to see this, and the only kind of seeing that is surrendered enough to trust it. The calculative mind will merely continue to create dualisms, win/lose scenarios, imperial egos and necessary victims.
• God has given us a new consciousness in what we call “prayer” and an utterly unexpected, maybe even unwanted, explanation or reality in what we call “the cross.”

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