Today’s blog: Richard Rohr, emerging church, beyond religion, unity consciousness, healing a divided world, what does it mean to be “church” in a post-modern world?
Before sharing today’s blog, I want to extend a profound thank you to all those who offered words of encouragement and support, along with your prayers. When I accepted the call to step even more fully into my truth by initiating the “Gathering of the Tribe,” the “devil” came a callin’! Every one of my fears and insecurities has shown up to test my resolve. Any and all safety nets were removed and I’ve been free-falling, trusting (trying to trust anyway) that I am being carried to the fulfillment of this mission. I am committed to the mission of the Tribe and to the work of Authentic Freedom and will continue to do the deep inner work that allows me to show up to this mission each and every day. Thank you for your love and support. We cannot do this alone!
Now for today’s blog:
No, I’m Nothing Like Richard Rohr!
If I had a dime for every person who has said to me, “your writing reminds me very much of Richard Rohr’s,” I would be the richest person in the world. As I have come to know Richard Rohr’s work, I can see how people might judge us as similar: we are both Type Ones on the Enneagram, we are both speaking on the topic of unity consciousness, we are both working to unite a divided world, we are both arriving at our topics from the perspective of a mystic. But there is one very important thing that sets us apart from which I must insist, “No, I am nothing like Richard Rohr.”
No offense to Richard as he is speaking to a very specific audience in the great work he is doing in the world. And he is working from within the comfort of his white, male, ordained, clerical privilege; deeply embedded in an institutional Christian mindset and supported by that institution. I am not.
Case in point: Yesterday, in Richard’s daily meditation email newsletter, he reflected on Making Christianity Relevant Again. While I agree with many of his points, if we ever hope to heal the divisions of our society and our world, we have to first recognize that the separation put forth by the Christian message is an enormous part of the problem….and it has been since the Jesus message was sold out to the fear, power, privilege and control of the Roman empire.
When the message of love that Jesus came to teach became institutionalized in the form of Christianity, the love was lost and fear took its place. (Just a reminder, Jesus was a Jew, not a Christian and he never sought to start a new religion, but to bring forth the love that was already at the heart of the Jewish message.) Suddenly, we were unworthy of the love of God, we needed an intermediary (in the form of an ordained priest) between ourselves and God, and in order to earn God’s love, we have to pay, pray and obey. The freedom that Jesus promised was replaced by indentured servitude. We were no longer free. Instead, we became slaves to the institution and to the institutional laws (dogma, doctrine), that serve mostly to keep us from God’s love, or to remind us of how this love had to be earned and the eternal threat of that love being taken away.
It is not Christianity that needs to be made relevant – it is love. In fact, this is already happening and the unfolding of this is not coming from within the institution of Christianity, it is coming from without. THIS is the emerging church that Protestants say they are looking toward and which Catholicism seeks to ignore. It is happening in people’s homes, in popular media, in the publishing industry, in online communities – all those places where people are coming together to rediscover the love that is at the heart of every religion – the love that erases the perceived separation between belief systems, making their chosen teacher’s words relevant to an entire world, not just to the “chosen few” who will find salvation through obedience to the institution’s laws. This is the work I am doing through Authentic Freedom Academy and another reason I am nothing like Richard Rohr. I am no longer seeking to reform an institution (Christianity) that is part of the problem in the first place. I’m going directly to the source which is love.
The place where I came to know this love is within, and it was from and through Jesus’ teachings (which are clearly written in scripture when we move beyond the doctrine) that I came to know this love within. This is the love that Jesus came to know within himself through his oneness with (that which he called) God, and which he then sought to teach others. This is a love that is universal and available to every single human being that walks on this planet – and you don’t have to call Jesus your teacher to know this love. In fact, if we look closely enough, we learn that this love is at the heart of most every institution that calls itself a religion or a philosophy. Love is what we are all seeking to attain/remember and it is love that will heal the divisions of our broken world.
From the chair in which Fr. Richard Rohr is sitting as a white, ordained, Catholic priest, I understand his point – for him and for those to whom he ministers, perhaps it is Christianity that needs to be made relevant. But from where I am sitting, the only thing we need is love.
If you are in the Oshkosh area, please join us for tonight’s Gathering of the Tribe. 6:30 pm at Authentic Freedom Academy. 1103 School Ave. Oshkosh.