Saturday, July 13, 2019

The Universal Rohr

I'm grateful to the kind and sharp folks at Comment for publishing my attempt to decipher the ingredients in the well-crafted cocktail of courage and carelessness that is Richard Rohr. Citations from the first two paragraphs are below.*

I think a most characteristic Rohr quote, which I was unable to sneak in, may be this:
Most Christians of the Middle Ages more easily trusted the spiritual solution than we do, but they seldom had the vocabulary to describe the psychological manifestations as we do today. We articulate the psychological dimensions so well, and in so many ways, that contemporary people are trapped in sophisticated and helpful descriptions of the manifestations but have no One to surrender it all to (The Divine Dance).
Reminds me of the device Irornman cooked up to explore his past trauma, but which was still incapable of helping him work through his pain. That said, there certainly were some books in the Middle Ages that ably described those manifestations, and Rohr explores one of them well in Quest for the Grail, one of his lesser known books.

And if one doubts the risks of becoming a "spiritual centaur with a Buddhist torso and a Christian behind," then just read this brief life overview of Alan Watts, cited fondly (in his Christian phases) by Rohr. Žižek on Buddhism is not unhelpful here (start at 2:39:00). But not that Hinduism and Buddhism don't have something to teach us. Anyway, you get the idea - it's complicated.

* Dancing Standing Still, 74; Falling Upward, 25; Everything Belongs, 146; Immortal Diamond, 189; Dancing Standing Still, 59; Everything Belongs, 143-144;  Falling Upward, 81; The Universal Christ, 62 (for an absurd caricature of Protestantism that violates Rohr’s rule to avoid antagonistic thinking listed on p. 175); Silent Compassion,16.  And here are the citations in the second paragraph: Immortal Diamond, 104, Falling Upward, 42; Immortal Diamond, 229; Universal Christ, 94; The Naked Now, 35; Breathing Underwater, 55;  Immortal Diamond, 122, Universal Christ, 73.