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 71 
 on: October 23, 2013, 06:51:18 AM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 23, 2013

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


Third Time Should Be a Charm!
Meditation 35 of 51


After their first opposition to the message (Mark 8:31-38 [1]), Jesus talks
about necessary suffering again (Mark 9:30-37 [2]). He tells them that
“The Human One” must be delivered into the hands of the people. They
will put him to death and three days later he will be raised up. But the
disciples do not understand what he says, and this time they are afraid
to ask him. Maybe they don’t want to get bawled out a second time. And
yet, they mutter amongst themselves about who is the greatest. It feels
like a cartoon.

[1]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8:31-38&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB
[2]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9:30-37&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

So Jesus sits down. He calls them to him. You can just feel his
exasperation. He says, “Now listen, if anyone wants to be first,
he’s got to make himself last of all and servant of all” (Mark
9:35 [3]). He takes a little child in his arms and says, “Anyone who
welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me” (9:37 [4]).
He's turning the social order upside down. But they still miss the
message! So Jesus speaks of necessary suffering a third time (10:32f [5]).
It is hard to believe, but the disciples respond by asking “to be
seated at Jesus’ right and left hand when he comes in glory”
(10:35-37 [6])! It is as if they are on another planet. And these are the
famous twelve apostles who founded our faith?

[3]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9:35&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB
[4]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9:37&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB
[5]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10:32-34&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB
[6]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10:35-37&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

It would be laughable, if it were not so tragic, and if it had not
become a prediction of so much of church leadership down to our own
time. In Mark’s Gospel, and you can check it out for yourself, the
blind man Bartimaeus (10:46-52 [7]), the pagan Roman centurion (15:37-39 [8]), and the
sinner Mary Magdalene (16:9-13 [9]) are the only named believers. Again, I
must say it: There is a message here!

[7]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10:46-52&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB
[8]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+15:37-39&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB
[9]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+16:9-13&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB


Adapted from The Four Gospels (CD, MP3)

 72 
 on: October 22, 2013, 09:05:46 AM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 22, 2013

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


Religious Leaders Can Be the Worst Enemies of the Actual Message
Meditation 34 of 51


Three times in the Gospel of Mark Jesus prophesies his necessary
rejection and persecution by “the chief priests, scribes, and teachers
of the Law” (8:31 [1]). There should be a message there, somehow.

[1]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8:31&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

Then the first time Jesus tells the disciples that “The Human
One”—as he deliberately calls himself—will suffer grievously and
be rejected and put to death (Mark 8:31 [1]), Peter totally rejects this
path. Jesus strongly rebukes him—and this is the only person that
Jesus ever calls a devil (Mark 8:33 [2]). For some reason, Roman Catholics
are never told that the first “Pope” also got the strongest
reprimand and directly rejected the necessary path, and is the only one
who later denies Jesus three times.

[2]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8:33&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

This is good news for the possibility of conversion, but bad news for
those who think that religious authorities are always right. In Mark’s
account, they show themselves to be unbelievers until the very end of
the Gospel, guardians of their own security and status more than any
message of resurrection. Read the closing chapter of Mark (16 [3]), which is
really rather disappointing.

[3]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+16&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB


Adapted from The Four Gospels (CD, MP3)

 73 
 on: October 21, 2013, 03:57:27 PM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 21, 2013


Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


Models for Ministry
Meditation 33 of 51


Mark begins his Gospel with the preaching of John the Baptist, a new
religious voice from the riverside instead of the temple, and from there
calling for change (which is the real meaning of the poorly translated
word “repent”). Big Truth invariably comes from the edges of
society, or those who have been to the edges, or the “wilderness” as
it is here called (Mark 1:3 [1]).

[1]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+1:3&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

Jesus’ new reality is affirmed and announced on the margins, where
people are ready to understand and to ask new questions. The
establishment at the center is seldom ready for the truth because it has
too much to protect; it has bought into the system and will invariably
protect the status quo. As Walter Brueggeman [2] says, “the home of hope
is hurt,” and it is seldom comfort or security.

[2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Walter_brueggemann

John wore a garment of camel hair, and he lived on locusts and wild
honey—surely a non-establishment costume for a son of the priestly
class. John is amazingly free from his own agenda, his own religious and
cultural system, and also his own ego. “He must grow greater, I must
grow smaller” (John 3:30 [3]), he says. John is able to point beyond
himself. He’s not trying to gather people around himself—which is why
he becomes the proto-evangelist. He sets the gold standard of pointing
beyond himself and his own security or status—to the Mystery itself.
Ministry cannot be a career decision, but an urgent vocation.

[3]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+3:30&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

One can only conclude that Mark began in this way, not just because it
was historically true, but because it mirrored his own journey. Some
scholars today, especially with new information from the Gnostic
Gospels, think that the anonymous man who “runs away naked” in the
Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:50-52 [4]) is very likely Mark himself. He is
quietly admitting that he also “deserted him” (verse 50) and ran
from suffering and humiliation. His “nakedness” is not just his but
ours, too.

[4]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+14:50-52&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB



Adapted from The Four Gospels (CD, MP3)

 74 
 on: October 20, 2013, 06:01:38 AM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 20, 2013

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


The Cruciform Pattern to Reality
Meditation 32 of 51


The Gospel of Mark is the shortest gospel and likely the oldest. In many
ways it is the simplest and clearest, and it cuts the hardest because it
is so utterly without frills. The more that commentators have studied
this gospel, the more they have found that the way in which Mark put
events together is trying to say a lot about the centrality of suffering
and the cross.

By the end, it is as if the entire gospel is an extended introduction to
an extended passion, death, and resurrection account. Mark is telling us
that this is how a life of truth and faith culminates in this world.
Rather bad news more than good news. There is a cruciform pattern to
reality. Life is filled with contradictions, tragedies, and paradoxes,
and to reconcile them you invariably pay a big price.

It eventually becomes evident that you’re going to get nailed for any
life of real depth or love, because this upsets the world’s agenda of
progress. This is not what the world wants, and not what the world
understands. Any life of authenticity will lead to its own forms of
crucifixion—from others, or, often, leading to various forms of
self-denial. Mark constantly brings us back to the central importance of
suffering. There’s no other way we’re going to break through to the
ultimate reality that we call resurrection without going through the
mystery of transformation, which is dramatically symbolized by the
cross.


Adapted from The Four Gospels (CD, MP3)

 75 
 on: October 19, 2013, 01:20:00 AM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 19, 2013

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


A Different Model of Authority
Meditation 31 of 51


    The greatest among you must behave as if he were the youngest, the
    leader as if he were the one who serves. -- Luke 22:26 [1].
        [1]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22:26&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB

That statement is probably the simplest and most powerful definition of spiritual
authority to be found in all four Gospels.

"For who is the greater, the one at table or the one who serves?" Most
of us would say immediately, "The one at table." Yet Jesus says, "Yet
here I am among you as one who serves" (Luke 22:27 [2]). Jesus says, in
effect, "I'm telling you that the way of domination will not build a new
world. I have come to model for you the way to be fully human which is
to be divine and exercise authority as God does." Often the church has
not even understood or even agreed with this. In much of our history we
have pretty much exercised authority and imposed laws and punishments in
the same way as secular society. This is surely not Jesus’ servant
leadership.

[2]: http://biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22:27&version=NIV;MSG;DRA;EXB


Adapted from The Good News According to Luke: Spiritual Reflections, p. 185

 76 
 on: October 18, 2013, 07:19:59 AM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 18, 2013


Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


What Is Suffering?
Meditation 30 of 51


Pain teaches a most counterintuitive thing—that we must go down before
we even know what up is. In terms of the ego, most religions teach in
some way that all of us must die before we die, and then we will not
be afraid of dying. Suffering of some sort seems to be the only thing
strong enough to destabilize our arrogance and our ignorance. I would
define suffering very simply as whenever you are not in control.

If religion cannot find a meaning for human suffering, humanity is in
major trouble. All healthy religion shows you what to do with your pain.
Great religion shows you what to do with the absurd, the tragic, the
nonsensical, the unjust. If we do not transform this pain, we will most
assuredly transmit it to others, and it will slowly destroy us in one
way or another.

If there isn’t some way to find some deeper meaning to our suffering,
to find that God is somewhere in it, and can even use it for good, we
will normally close up and close down. The natural movement of the ego
is to protect itself so as not to be hurt again. The soul does not need
answers, it just wants meaning, and then it can live. Surprisingly,
suffering itself often brings deep meaning to the surface to those who
are suffering and also to those who love them.


Adapted from Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality, p. 25

 77 
 on: October 17, 2013, 04:47:34 AM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Oct 17, 2013

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


First World Liberation Theology
Meditation 29 of 51


Do you realize with what difficulty surrender will come to a fixing,
managing mentality? There’s nothing in that psyche prepared to
understand the spiritual wisdom of surrender. All of the great world
religions teach surrender. Yet most of us, until we go through “the
hole in our soul,” don’t think surrender is really necessary. At
least that’s how it is for those of us in developed countries. The
poor, on the other hand, seem to understand limitation at a very early
age. They cannot avoid or deny the big hole in much of reality and even
in their own soul.

The developing world faces its limitation through a breakdown in the
socioeconomic system, and any access to basic justice. But we, in the
so-called developed world, have to face our limitations, it seems, on
the inside. That’s our liberation theology. We must recognize our own
poor man, our own abused woman, the oppressed part of ourselves that we
hate, that we deny, that we’re afraid of. That’s the hole in our
soul. This is our way through, maybe the only way, says the crucified
Jesus.


Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 66, day 71

 78 
 on: October 16, 2013, 05:46:36 PM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Sometimes I think that maybe Fr. Rohr is a little hard on "first half" spirituality.  I'm thinking, that if we take a developmental approach to spirituality, that the child staying "pure", hearing the voice of his conscience, is indeed following and loving God in the way he knows best.  

If development follows awareness, a child is going to first get to know his conscience, which loves very conditionally.  Her "inner voice" is going to be the voice of her God-given conscience.  In other words, conscience=God. Once her conscience adequately guides her through the periods where we slowly take on new compulsions (desire for stuff, other people's stuff, territoriality, status (teenagers), sexuality (teens again, of course), the adult who has their compulsions under control is ready take a step deeper, finding beneath it all a God who loves unconditionally, a God who loves us even when we violate our conscience.

BTW, Alan sorry for the hiatus.  I hope you have been well.  And everyone else too!


I think he plays back and forth just a small amount.  It is clear, and I fully agree, that first-half spirituality (the way he defines it) is clearly not where Jesus was taking us.  IMO the church is focused almost 99% on this part of spirituality; the other 1% are lucky or have searched for themselves.  Or maybe 80/20 or 90/10.  Whatever it is, I was "lucky" at age 42 to even have *heard of* spiritual direction, contemplation, spiritual journey, etc. as something different than just being knowledgeable about and presumably observant of teachings and traditions.

As far as the child remaining pure, I also hold that to be the ideal.  Statistically speaking, my own kids included, society overwhelming corrupts a child's mind into helplessly dualistic and judgmental and manipulative thinking at an early age.  Age 7 is about when it happens according to Fr. Keating.  I'm experimenting with my grandson.  His parents are better with him than the most storybook parents I've ever seen, and my wife and I get direct access to him several times a week.  He's a year old and pretty amazing so far not just in behavior but clearly in his outlook on life on a moment-by-moment basis; my idea is to raise him with total spiritual truth and clarity so that he does in fact remain pure, even as he learns and becomes wise.  His mother is Catholic and his father Hindu, so we have the east and west both covered.  They may not raise him Catholic -- if so then we have to make sure that whatever he gets "first half" wise, he will have all he needs to remain in (or regain) the second half.  This first/second half thing isn't just for Catholics IMO.  You have to use dualism before you can learn about and ultimately use nondualism.

I like what you're saying about conscience, but I do also see that the God-given conscience is generally going to mean that any conscious effort they use to discern right and wrong are going to be based on values they have been told my others.  So it is God-given, but it comes through human interpretation.  The way I see is in the second half of life, you get away from your moral dogma as interpreted and applied by our brain to whatever degree of success, and get more into the instinctive sense of right wrong that truly is God-given -- the code of love that is written on our hearts.

Here's a quick search that I thought was apropos:

Romans 2:15
They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)

Romans 2:29
No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.

2 Corinthians 3:2
You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, known and read by everyone.

2 Corinthians 3:3
You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.




I think the risk of trying to skip the first half spirituality, could be of turning into a sociopath -- as society would view the behavior that seems quit reasonable to the person.  Sure we have to obey what God tells us over man, but that's a tricky situation.  If we spend enough time listening to what other people have come up with in terms of morality, not just what Church teaches but what normal social interaction teaches, then we can be sure that our natural tendency toward love is finely tuned to the society and cultural sensibilities in which we live.  If for no other reason, then like St. Paul says, to avoid giving offense.  We need to understand other people and what they consider right and wrong and how they see things, in order to most effectively serve them up the loving acts we are capable of.  If we are in a cloister we don't have to sweat those issues as much as any of us in the active life -- whether we're in the first OR the second half.

Oh, don't apologize for the hiatus.  I'm glad to see you here now.  I've been pretty absent a lot myself in the past few weeks or so, and it's been very quiet here.  I'm ready to get back, though, and see if we can get WF more active again; I think we can do good things for and with people, and maybe get some content enough to justify inviting new members.

Alan

 79 
 on: October 16, 2013, 01:31:43 PM 
Started by Alan - Last post by Alan
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation:
Seven Themes of an Alternative Orthodoxy
---------------------------------------------------

Quote
Sixth Theme: The path of descent is the path of transformation.
Darkness, failure, relapse, death, and woundedness are our primary
teachers, rather than ideas or doctrines (Process).


Griefwork
Meditation 28 of 51


We live a long time in order to become lovers. God is like a good
parent, refusing to do our homework for us. We must learn through trial
and error. We have to do our homework ourselves, the homework of
suffering, desiring, loving, winning and losing, hundreds of times.

Grief is one of the greatest occasions of deep and sad feeling, and
it’s one that is socially acceptable. Most understand and want to walk
with you in your grief. When we lose a beloved friend, wife, husband,
child, parent, or maybe a possession or a job, we feel it is okay to
feel deeply. But we must broaden that. We’ve got to find a passion
that is also experienced when we have it, not just when we’re losing
it. And we have it all the time. Don’t wait for loss to feel, suffer,
or enjoy deeply. But the grief process is still a marvelous teacher and
awakener; for many men, in particular, it is the only emotion that
shakes them to their core.


Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 282, day 293

 80 
 on: October 14, 2013, 06:22:18 PM 
Started by Justicia et Pax - Last post by Justicia et Pax
I don't know if I have an "overall" favorites, but I do get interested in one from time to time.  Teresa of Avila is important to me, too, because of her writings on spirituality.  From what I know about her, her writing helped me affirm my own healing because a lot of what I had gone through and come to think, reading her stuff helped me open up about them.  I mean, I knew what was happening was "real" but I didn't know if it would ever correlate with anybody else's experience until hers.

In particular, I like the way her writings seemed to acknowledge that "darker side" somewhat like I had found in myself.  It's hard for me to empathize the saints sometimes because I'm not as "holy" and all that as they are -- but the way some of her writings went I could still benefit.

Alan

She certainly is a great writer. It's past midnight today in the UK, so today is her feast day Cheesy
I too was amazed to find what I had gone through spiritually, written down in a book by a nun who existed about 500 years before I did  Shocked

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