Notes from Pastor Randy . . .
From May 2-5, I – along with Bob Erickson, Carol Reppert, and Diana Biggs –
attended the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly in Albuquerque. Our keynote
speaking was Father Richard Rohr, one of the most well known theologians in the
world today. At the age of 76, his mind seems as keen as ever.
Rohr was born in Kansas in 1943. He received his master's degree in theology in
1970 from the University of Dayton. He entered the Franciscans in 1961 and was
ordained to the priesthood in 1970. He became founder of the New Jerusalem
Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1971 and the Center for Action and
Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1986. He continues to serve
as founding director and academic dean of the Living School for Action and
In his 2016 book The Divine Dance, Rohr suggests that the top-down hierarchy
approach of western Christianity since Constantine has held ecumenical traditions
back for centuries. In particular, he believes the split of Eastern Church (Orthodox)
away from the Western Church (Roman Church) in 1054 AD was a big loss, for we
in the West no longer celebrate the mystery of God. Rohr maintains that the church
has lost its way, because the church is failing its mission to transform people, and by
not doing so, is becoming increasingly irrelevant.
Rohr goes on to assert that God holds both the masculine and the feminine together,
and that the Trinity helps us avoid dualistic (either/or) thinking. He strongly
criticizes Christian religious rituals that focus on rules of the Bible rather than the
paramount centrality of relationship with God, and neighbor. He states: “If you
don’t believe that infinite love is the center of the universe, you live in a scarcity
model where there’s never enough and you can’t risk letting go because you’re
not sure you’ll be refilled".
Rohr emphasizes "alternative orthodoxy", a phrase the Franciscan tradition has
applied to itself, referring to a focus on "orthopraxis" — a belief that lifestyle and
practice are much more important than mere verbal orthodoxy. The church is called
out into the world, a world paralyzed by indifference, a world where many of us fear
our fellow companions.
Concerning ourselves, he says: “If you don’t let God transform your pain, you will
Here are some additional quotes from his 30 books that he has published.
- God does not love you because you are good; God loves you because God is
- The human ego prefers anything, just about anything, to falling, or changing, or
dying. The ego is that part of you that loves the status quo—even when it's not
working. It attaches to past and present - and fears the future.
- We worshiped Jesus instead of following him on his same path. We made Jesus
into a mere religion instead of a journey toward union with God and everything
else. This shift made us into a religion of 'belonging and believing' instead of a
religion of transformation.
-Secular freedom is having to do what you want to do. Religious freedom is
wanting to do what you have to do.
- The fact that God has given us so many different faces and temperaments and
emotions and histories shows us how God honors each unique journey and culture.
God is not threatened by differences. It’s we who are (threatened).
- Prayer must lead us beyond mind, words, and ideas to a more spacious place
where God has a chance to get in.