Archive for June, 2018

Changing Our Economy

June 29th, 2018

Richard Rohr

Changing Our Economy
Friday, June 29, 2018

Pope Francis often says, “This economy kills.” [1] The divide between the wealthy and the poor in the United States continues to grow. A handful of billionaires are literally “making a killing,” while millions who live below the poverty line are “making a dying,” and very few make a fair living. Just one tangible example: without access to affordable health care, roughly “40 percent of Americans [take] on debt because of medical issues.” [2]

The Vatican recently called attention to the poverty of ethics and morality within the global economy. Their report states: “No profit is in fact legitimate when it falls short of the objective of the integral promotion of the human person, the universal destination of goods, and the preferential option for the poor.” The economy must “aim above all to promote the global quality of life that, before the indiscriminate expansion of profits, leads the way toward the integral well-being of the entire person and of every person.” Markets, the Vatican observes, “are not capable of governing themselves,” and so it is our duty as citizens of Earth and followers of Jesus to hold businesses, banks, and political leaders to higher standards. [3]

How else might we participate in co-creating a new economy that is equitable for all? Jim Wallis writes, “While it is good to protest, having an alternative is better.” [4] The best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better. More and more companies are practicing fair trade, reducing waste, using renewable resources, and investing in healthy communities and ecosystems. Support or start one of these businesses!

As Paul Hawken suggests, “We can just as easily have an economy that is based on healing the future instead of stealing it. . . . One is called restoration and the other exploitation. . . . The world begs for dreamers to set up shop, invent a new product or social technology, and create the kinds of breakthroughs that will bring us together to act responsibly as passengers on this magnificent place we call home.” [5]

Jesus invites us to stand in solidarity with the poor. We must come close to real people who are hurting. We then can amplify their authentic stories of suffering and cries for change. The Poor People’s Campaign did just that this spring:

It shows us that poor and marginalized people from all backgrounds, all places, and all religions are organizing and fighting for their lives, rights and deepest values. It insists that all humans have dignity and that life is sacred. . . . [6]

We know from history that when those most impacted by injustice band together with moral leaders, clergy, activists, and all people of conscience—that is when we can make a change. That is when our country gets better for everyone, not just a select few. [7]


Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

June 29, 2018

AS YOU GET OUT OF BED in the morning, be aware of My Presence with you. You may not be thinking clearly yet, but I am. Your early morning thoughts tend to be anxious ones until you get connected with Me. Invite Me into your thoughts by whispering My Name. Suddenly your day brightens and feels more user-friendly. You cannot dread a day that is vibrant with My Presence. You gain confidence through knowing that I am with you—that you face nothing alone. Anxiety stems from asking the wrong question: “If such and such happens, can I handle it?” The true question is not whether you can cope with whatever happens, but whether you and I together can handle anything that occurs. It is this you-and-I-together factor that gives you confidence to face the day cheerfully.

PSALM 5:3; In the morning, LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

PSALM 63:1 NKJV; Joy in the Fellowship of God – A Psalm of David when he was in the wilderness of Judah. O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts.

PHILIPPIANS 4:13;I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Morning and Evening Devotional (Jesus Calling®) (p. 372). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.

Usury:The Root of Evil

June 28th, 2018

Richard Rohr

Usury: The Root of Evil
Thursday, June 28, 2018

All this time
The Sun never says to the Earth,

“You owe me.”

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky.

—Hafiz, paraphrased by Daniel Ladinsky [1]

The economy of exploitative profit has no place in God’s kingdom. The economy of grace—gifts freely given and received—is the way God and nature operate. [2] Charles Eisenstein explains the “sacred economics” of a gift economy and how that has been twisted into the unhealthy system we have today:

At its core, money is a beautiful concept. Let me be very naïve for a moment so as to reveal this core, this spiritual (if not historical) essence of money. I have something you need, and I wish to give it to you. So I do, and you feel grateful and desire to give something to me in return. But you don’t have anything I need right now. So instead you give me a token of your gratitude. . . . Later, when I receive a gift from someone else, I give them that token. . . .

Money becomes necessary when the range of our gifts must extend beyond the people we know personally. . . . Traditional, decentralized gift networks gave way to centralized systems of redistribution, with the temple, and later the royal palace, as the hub. . . . They soon diverged from the gift mind-set as contributions became forced and quantified, and outward disbursement became unequal. . . .

We are faced with a paradox. On the one hand money is properly a token of gratitude and trust, an agent of the meeting of gifts and needs. . . . As such it should make us all richer. Yet it does not. Instead, it has brought insecurity, poverty, and the liquidation of our cultural and natural commons. Why?

The cause of these things lies deep within the very heart of today’s money system . . . usury, better known as interest. Usury is the very antithesis of the gift, for instead of giving to others when one has more than one needs, usury seeks to use the power of ownership to gain even more—to take from others rather than to give. . . .

The money created [by the U.S. Federal Reserve] accompanies a corresponding debt, and the debt is always for more than the amount of money created. . . . Usury both generates today’s endemic scarcity and drives the world-devouring engine of perpetual growth. . . . To make new money to keep the whole system going . . . we have to create more “goods and services” . . . [by] selling something that was once free. . . .

Completing the vicious circle, the more of life we convert into money, the more we need money to live. Usury, not money, is the proverbial root of all evil. [3]



Jesus Calling

Sarah Young

June 28, 2018

TASTE AND SEE THAT I AM GOOD. This command contains an invitation to experience My living Presence. It also contains a promise. The more you experience Me, the more convinced you become of My goodness. This knowledge is essential to your faith-walk. When adversities strike, the human instinct is to doubt My goodness. My ways are mysterious, even to those who know Me intimately. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways and thoughts higher than your ways and thoughts. Do not try to fathom My ways. Instead, spend time enjoying Me and experiencing My goodness.

PSALM 34:8; O taste and see.” Make a trial, an inward, experimental trial of the goodness of God. You cannot see except by tasting for yourself; but if you taste …

ISAIAH 55:8 – 9; For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways.

PSALM 100:5 NKJV; For the Lord is good; His mercy is everlasting, And His truth endures to all generations.


The Cost of Consumption

June 27th, 2018

The Cost of Consumption Richard Rohr
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

People hate this kind of talk. Raw truth is never popular. —Amos 5:10, The Message

Coming to grips with the history and reality of our money culture is challenging. But with awareness comes opportunity and motivation for change. Contemplative practice helps me hold the tension of suffering with my responsibility to participate in its healing. I can live with fewer comforts and conveniences when I see my part in global warming and poverty. I can hold companies and politicians accountable for their actions, voting in elections and with my wallet.

Paul Hawken offers some hard truth that I hope you can read with a contemplative, nondual mind:

. . . It is highly inconvenient to acknowledge what is happening in the environment. That awareness runs counter to what we have been taught—and what we expect and want from our lives. The United States was founded by acts of exploiting land, people, and resources. [Christianity legitimated human slavery!] We have enlarged that principle and do it the whole world over in the name of trade and growth. . . .

Business is rewarded for producing the best product demanded by the market at the lowest price. The free market is efficient because the producer has every incentive to be as thrifty and innovative as possible. . . . Free market industrialism took root in a world in which trade was expansive and global. Resources of unusual abundance were wrested away from indigenous cultures in the Americas, Africa, and Asia, furthering the fortunes of the trading, industrial nations, which took what they wanted with force. It was colonialism, and it is practiced today, not by adventurers but by transnational corporations or proxies in host countries.

Business did not anticipate a time when those resources would diminish or run out. It was inconceivable that the vast plains and forests of the New World could be exhausted, or that the abundant new fuels of coal could produce enough waste to foul the air and the seas, or that the use of oil could eventually lead to global climate change. So the system of rewarding the lowest price, impelling companies to exploit the cheapest sources of labor and materials, could not anticipate a time when the lowest price would no longer be the lowest cost, when seeking the cheapest means to get a product to market would end up costing society the most in terms of pollution, loss of habitat, degradation of biological diversity, human sickness, and cultural destruction. . . .

[Thankfully] the restorative economy is beginning to prosper. In the United States today, tens of thousands of companies are committed to some form of environmental commerce that competes with businesses that are not willing to adapt. The impulse to enhance the economic viability of life on earth through the recognition and preservation of all living systems is becoming increasingly central to religion, science, medicine, literature, the arts, and youth. It will be the dominant theme of generations to come. [1]


JUNE 27 REST WITH ME A WHILE. You have journeyed up a steep, rugged path in recent days. The way ahead is shrouded in uncertainty. Look neither behind you nor before you. Instead, focus your attention on Me, your constant Companion. Trust that I will equip you fully for whatever awaits you on your journey. I designed time to be a protection for you. You couldn’t bear to see all your life at once. Though I am unlimited by time, it is in the present moment that I meet you. Refresh yourself in My company, breathing deep draughts of My Presence. The highest level of trust is to enjoy Me moment by moment. I am with you, watching over you wherever you go.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” —MATTHEW 11:28 NKJV

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul. —PSALM 143:8

“I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.” —GENESIS 28:15

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

Protecting the System

June 26th, 2018

Richard Rohr

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Feast of John the Baptist
When the economic institution is our primary lens, as it is in the U.S., religion tends to be diluted by pragmatic, win/lose, and power attitudes. God is bought and sold more than loved, waited for, or surrendered to. This is why Jesus’ anger (and even destruction of property) was aimed at those selling and buying in the temple (see Matthew 21:12).
I once saw a cartoon in the New Yorker depicting a pedestal holding a dollar. People are bowing to the enshrined bill, and one of them says, “The reason I like this religion is that at least we’re not hypocritical.” Americans have this dangerous illusion that we’re a religious people. Yet it’s evident that God is not on the pedestal here. Clearly our consumer system is the priority, and everything else is subservient.
I once was teaching a class that was to be attended by a wealthy banker. I had been warned that he might take me to task for my criticism of the American Way, so I was prepared for the worst. As I talked, I watched him listening attentively, occasionally becoming stiff-shouldered. Sure enough, at break time he headed right for the podium.
“Father,” he said, putting his hands on my shoulders, “I’ve got something to tell you. Not only is what you said true, but it’s much truer than you even imagine.” Then he explained to me a study documenting that the United States government’s savings and loan bailout of 1989 was the biggest transfer of money from the poor to the rich in human history.
“But there’s really no one to blame,” he added, in spite of the visible few who went to jail for their corrupt actions. “The whole system is skewed to protect those at the top at all costs.” In fact, I added, it’s to protect the system itself, because the system is our goal. We abhor and denigrate welfare for the poor but hardly blink at welfare for corporations or for the banking and military systems. Money is tight for education, health care, and other public services but our military budget only continues to grow.
Paul Hawken, an American entrepreneur and environmentalist, shares a similar insight he learned from a farmer in Maine:
The problem with the United States is that it usually hits exactly what it is aiming at. And for decades now, we have aimed for money and possessions. We got it. It was not evenly distributed and is now highly concentrated, posing as great a threat to democracy as any foreign power ever did, but that is what this country made—money. In the process, we completely forgot that success and failure, when measured by currency alone, are impostors, and that our lives, the transience of which often becomes evident all too late, can have little meaning unless we feel in our passing that we were able to serve the nature and humanity [and God] that gave us our breath and soul. [1]


Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

STAY CALMLY CONSCIOUS OF ME today, no matter what. Remember that I go before you as well as with you into the day. Nothing takes Me by surprise. I will not allow circumstances to overwhelm you so long as you look to Me. I will help you cope with whatever the moment presents. Collaborating with Me brings blessings that far outweigh all your troubles. Awareness of My Presence contains Joy that can endure all eventualities.

PSALM 23:1–4 NKJV; The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters.

2 CORINTHIANS 4:16–17; therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.

PSALM 28:7; The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.


Roots of Liberation

June 25th, 2018

Roots of Liberation Richard Rohr
Sunday, June 24, 2018

One of the great themes of the Bible, beginning with the Hebrew Scriptures and continued by Jesus and Paul, is “the preferential option for the poor.” I call it “the bias toward the bottom.” The Hebrew people’s exodus out of slavery, and YHWH’s complete identification with them, is the pattern of our universal spiritual journey to liberation.
Moses, himself a man at “the bottom” (a murderer on the run, caring for his father-in-law’s sheep), first encounters God in an ordinary bush that “burns” without being consumed (Exodus 3:2). Moses’ experience is both external and interior, earth-based and transcendent: “Take off your shoes, this is holy ground,” he hears (3:5). Awestruck and fully present, Moses is able to perceive God’s surprising call: “I have heard the groaning of my people in Egypt. You, Moses, are to go confront the Pharaoh and tell him to let my people go” (3:9-10).

Here we have the perfect integration of action and contemplation. First, the contemplative experience comes—the burning bush. Immediately it has social, economic, and political implications. There is no authentic God experience that does not situate you in the world in a different way. You see things differently, and you have the security to be free from your usual loyalties: privilege, position, group, and economy. Yet this transformation has costly consequences. Moses had to leave Pharaoh’s palace to ask new questions and become the liberator of his people.

The Exodus story is the root of all liberation theology, which Jesus then teaches and fully exemplifies (see Luke 4:18-19). It is obvious that he is primarily a healer of the poor and powerless. Liberation theology focuses on freeing people from religious, political, social, and economic oppression (i.e., what Pope John Paul II called “structural sin” and “institutional evil”). [1] It goes beyond just trying to free individuals from their own naughty behaviors, which many people identify as the only meaning of sin. In our individualistic society, structural sin is accepted as good and necessary on the corporate or national level. Large companies, churches, and governments get away with and are even applauded for killing (war), greed, vanity, pride, and ambition. The capital sins are rewarded at the corporate level but shamed at the individual level. This is our conflicted Christian morality!

Instead of legitimating the status quo, liberation theology tries to read history and the Bible not from the side of the powerful, but from the side of the pain. Its beginning point is not sin management, but “Where is the suffering?”

The world tends to define poverty and riches simply in terms of economics. But poverty has many faces—weakness, dependence, and many forms of humiliation. Essentially, poverty is a lack of means to accomplish what one desires or needs, be it lack of money, relationships, influence, power, intellectual ability, physical strength, freedom, or dignity.

God hears the cry of the poor. And we, created in God’s image and likeness, must do the same to be like God.


Inalienable Rights
Monday, June 25, 2018

No one can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. —Matthew 6:24

In his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), Jesus critiques and reorders the values of his culture from the bottom up. He “betrays” the prevailing institutions of family, religion, power, and economy (i.e., controlling resources) by his loyalty to another world vision which he calls the Reign of God. Such loyalty cost him popularity, the support of the authorities, immense inner agony, and finally his own life. By putting the picture into the largest possible frame, Jesus called into question all smaller frames and forced a radical transformation of consciousness upon his hearers. Most seemed unready for this paradigm shift, including his inner circle.

What is Western culture’s primary frame of reference? Money and power seem to come first. The dominant system in our society is production and consumption. Manipulative marketing convinces us we must have the newest version, regardless of what we actually need. Status is attained by having money and the freedom to use it.

Uncontrolled greed (no longer considered a capital sin) widens the gap between the haves and the have nots, the powerful and the powerless. Today in the U.S., the 4oo richest people own more wealth than the entire bottom 64 percent of the population (204 million people). Over 40 million Americans live below the poverty line. [1]

When the bottom line is money and politicians are in the pockets of big corporations, resources as foundational as clean water, housing, and health care go to the highest bidder. This inequality is absolutely counter to the Gospel message. In “The Souls of Poor Folk”—an audit of America fifty years after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Poor People’s Campaign—the message is clear:

There is inalienable worth and intrinsic value to every person, regardless of wealth or public position. Policies that hurt the poor are a violation of that inalienable value. . . . We are all worthy of the very necessities of life.

To be a Christian (and a decent human being!) we cannot “make moral claims about caring for the souls of people, but then pass policies that destroy their bodies and communities.” [2]

Economic justice is not popular. Who will hold our politicians and corporations accountable today? Jim Wallis, founder of the faith-based nonprofit Sojourners, writes:

What if the calls for economic justice were made in the name of Jesus—or Amos, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Micah—instead of from more ideological sources and causes? . . . What if behavior in the economic spheres of our lives became the substance of adult Sunday school curriculums and Bible study groups? And what if the hard political questions about corporate responsibility, tax benefits, trade policies, budget priorities, and campaign financing were coming from religious congregations that political leaders couldn’t afford to ignore? Nothing could do more to bring about a change of fortunes in the battles of class warfare. [3]

There has been a permanent state of class warfare of the rich against the poor throughout history, but for some strange reason it is only called class warfare when it is the poor against the rich!


and your heart to receive this day as a precious gift from Me. I begin each day with a sunrise, announcing My radiant Presence. By the time you rise from your bed, I have already prepared the way before you. I eagerly await your first conscious thought. I rejoice when you glance My way. Bring Me the gift of thanksgiving, which opens your heart to rich communion with Me. Because I am God, from whom all blessings flow, thankfulness is the best way to draw near Me. Sing praise songs to Me; tell of My wondrous works. Remember that I take great delight in you; I rejoice over you with singing.

This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. —PSALM 118:24

Come, let us sing for joy to the LORD; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. —PSALM 95:1–2

The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing. —ZEPHANIAH 3:17

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

Justice Close to Home

June 22nd, 2018

Richard Rohr

Justice Close to Home

Friday, June 22, 2018
Over the last two weeks I’ve explored justice in a broad way. Today I’d like to bring it closer to home, in a little longer meditation, so you get a fuller picture and some of the nuances in my own life.
My first assignment as an ordained deacon in 1969 was working with the Acoma Indians, a Pueblo people living west of Albuquerque. I quickly fell in love with this multi-cultural and beautiful “Land of Enchantment.”
In 1986 when I felt called to start the Center for Action and Contemplation, I returned to New Mexico. Its physical proximity to the U.S./Mexico border, Franciscan legacy (both good and bad), extreme poverty (only Mississippi and U.S. territories have higher poverty rates in the U.S.), and history of nuclear testing made this seem like a good place to live in solidarity with suffering and practice contemplative approaches to justice and peacemaking.
I am still learning to hold the tension of our stunning landscape and rich art with so much injustice and pain. I’ll share just a few examples of New Mexico’s complex past and present.
The Catholic “Doctrine of Discovery” sent Spanish Conquistadors in search of gold, beginning in the sixteenth century. [1] As the area was colonized, many indigenous peoples were massacred, enslaved, or forced to assimilate. Colonial governor Juan de Oñate (1550-1626) had one foot cut off of each man in Acoma Pueblo after they rebelled against Spanish domination. By the late eighteenth century, approximately one-third of New Mexico’s native population was enslaved. [2]
The exploitation of Native Americans continued under Mexican and then United States rule. In the late 1800s, two federal “Indian” boarding schools in the state tried to “remove the cultural and individual identity” of Native American children by prohibiting them from “practicing their native language and beliefs.” [3] Anglo settlers stole land from both Native Americans and Hispanic residents. The U.S. Army forced the Navajo or Diné people onto a small reservation on the eastern side of the state in 1864; the “Long Walk to Bosque Redondo” from the Navajos’ home in western New Mexico—which covered 300 miles of desert and mountains—was an attempt at ethnic cleansing. [4]
The U.S. government has formed numerous treaties with tribes and pueblos, only to blatantly disregard them and give preference to corporations and private interests. Today Native Americans continue to struggle to protect their land, water, and diverse cultures. Even while many in the U.S. try to keep immigrants from crossing our country’s borders, they have broken promises to respect the boundaries of those who were here before us.
Migration—whether chosen or forced—is a reality we must continue to face. U.S. interference in Central America has led to destabilization and violence. In 1986, the year before the Center for Action and Contemplation officially opened, our governor declared New Mexico the country’s first “State of Sanctuary,” a welcoming place for those fleeing civil wars in Central America. Albuquerque’s mayor, Tim Keller, recently affirmed that we are an “Immigrant Friendly” city, limiting city resources in the enforcement of federal immigration laws. [5] I support this decision and applaud the faith communities who are sheltering undocumented immigrants!
The policies of separating families at the U.S./Mexico border and of criminalizing those who seek asylum are disgraceful. Throughout Scripture we see God’s mercy toward the outsider and the vulnerable. Jesus makes our treatment of “the least of these brothers and sisters” the only real criteria for the final judgment (see Matthew 25:31-46). Jesus himself was a refugee, and his life and teaching show us what it means to welcome the stranger in our midst. Without love, “law and order” mentalities too often lead to dehumanization, concentration camps, and genocide. In today’s political arena there is a lot of finger-pointing; we need to move beyond blame and rhetoric to take action on behalf of those who are suffering.
With its high desert environment, New Mexico is particularly vulnerable to climate change. The Rio Grande, which begins in Colorado and finally borders Texas and Mexico, often dries up in the summer before it reaches the Gulf of Mexico, and droughts will only worsen. The over-consumption of fossil fuels in the U.S. has significantly contributed to global warming. Those in power must take responsibility for caring for the people and places most impacted. We’ll all have to come together as a community to find creative ways of sharing and preserving our resources.
Our history is complex and layered. There is no single side of the story, though history is often written from the perspective of the “victor.” [6] We continue to peel back the layers and learn more about the many people who call New Mexico home, often displacing or marginalizing the previous residents. I can only touch on a few of the issues I’ve learned about. In doing so I hope to spark curiosity about your own place in the world. Who lived on “your” land before you? If you don’t know, find out. [7] How might this awareness change the way you live and your attitudes and actions toward indigenous peoples and immigrants?


Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

June 22, 2018

THANK ME for the very things that are troubling you. You are on the brink of rebellion, precariously close to shaking your fist in My Face. You are tempted to indulge in just a little complaining about My treatment of you. But once you step over that line, torrents of rage and self-pity can sweep you away. The best protection against this indulgence is thanksgiving. It is impossible to thank Me and curse Me at the same time. Thanking Me for trials will feel awkward and contrived at first. But if you persist, your thankful words, prayed in faith, will eventually make a difference in your heart. Thankfulness awakens you to My Presence, which overshadows all your problems.

PSALM 116:17 NKJV;I will offer to You the sacrifice of thanksgiving, And will call upon the name of the Lord.

PHILIPPIANS 4:4–6; Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

PSALM 100:2 NKJV; Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.


Walking Toward Heaven

June 21st, 2018

Richard Rohr

Thursday, June 21, 2018
Summer Solstice

Yesterday I explored the fundamental importance of discovering and living out of our True Self, our imago Dei, the image of God that we are. In the Center for Action and Contemplation’s most recent edition of Oneing, “Anger,” actor, filmmaker, writer, and personal friend Josh Radnor writes about how living from our inherent divinity contributes to creating a just and loving world.

In his book Carpe Jugulum, Terry Pratchett has a character define sin thusly: “Sin, young man, is when you treat people like things.” [1] . . .

We’re seeing the consequences of this everywhere these days: People are being objectified. . . .

The translation of Namaste is one of infinite depth. It means: The divinity in me . . . salutes the divinity in you.

Here we have an antidote to objectification. Something infinite, immortal, mysterious, loving, and alive abides in me and it is from this light that I bow toward that which is infinite, immortal, mysterious, loving, and alive in you. What if this was our set-point, our baseline, the fundamental assumption we had about every single person we encountered? All our reputations precede us: We’re divine. . . .

Mystics from every tradition testify to the aliveness and sentience of all things, that the natural world is lit up with the flame of divinity. This does and must include us. We’re not taught this. In fact, most of what we’re taught opposes this.

There’s an urgency to this moment. We must choose between a world of subjects and a world of objects. To acknowledge the divinity of another, we must first accept our own, which is not nearly as easy as it sounds. . . . Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield [writes]:

Our belief in a limited and impoverished identity is such a strong habit that without it we are afraid we wouldn’t know how to be. If we fully acknowledged our dignity, it could lead us to radical life changes. It could ask something huge of us. [2]

. . . So many of us carry a kind of unspoken assumption that something is very, very wrong with us, that we’re damaged, guilty, and unlovable. Stepping into our divinity—acknowledging and accepting our fundamental nobility—is the ultimate paradigm shift. Kornfield is right. We cannot continue with business as usual after this. . . .

Namaste asks something huge of us: If the divinity in me recognizes the divinity in you, how could I abuse, debase, violate, or harass? I would, after all, only be punishing myself. . . .

St. Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335-c. 394) offered another beautiful, succinct, and useful definition of sin. Sin, he [suggested], is a refusal to keep growing. [3]

This is a growing moment. Growth is painful.

I don’t believe hell or heaven to be post-life destinations. I believe they are states of consciousness largely visible here and now. A world of objects is a kind of hell. A world of subjects—divine beings honoring the divinity in the other—is surely heaven. May we point our feet toward this heaven and begin the hard and necessary work of walking there.


Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

June 21, 2018

WAIT PATIENTLY WITH ME while I bless you. Don’t rush into My Presence with time-consciousness gnawing at your mind. I dwell in timelessness: I am, I was, I will always be. For you, time is a protection; you’re a frail creature who can handle only twenty-four-hour segments of life. Time can also be a tyrant, ticking away relentlessly in your mind. Learn to master time, or it will be your master. Though you are a time-bound creature, seek to meet Me in timelessness. As you focus on My Presence, the demands of time and tasks will diminish. I will bless you and keep you, making My Face shine upon you graciously, giving you Peace.

MICAH 7:7; But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD, I wait for God my Savior; my God will hear me.

REVELATION 1:8; I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

ECCLESIASTES 3:1; A Time for Everything – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

NUMBERS 6:24–26; “The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you.


You Are the “Imago Dei”

June 20th, 2018

You Are the “Imago Dei”
Wednesday, June 20, 2018 Richard Rohr

Searching for and rediscovering the True Self is the fundamentum, the essential task that will gradually open us to receiving and giving love to God, others, and ourselves, and thus to live truly just lives. Grace builds on nature; it does not avoid or destroy nature. You are created in the image of God from the very beginning (Genesis 1:26-27). This is the basis for God’s justice: Since everyone is made in the image of God, then we need to recognize, honor, and respect the image of God in everyone. No exceptions.

You (and every other creation of God) begin with your unique divine DNA, an inner destiny as it were, an absolute core that knows the truth about you, a true believer tucked away in the cellar of your being, an imago Dei that begs to be allowed, to be fulfilled, and to show itself. “You were chosen in Christ before the world was made—to stand before God in love—marked out beforehand as fully adopted sons and daughters” (Ephesians 1:4-5). This is your True Self or soul.

Jesus revealed and accepted a paradox: human and divine are not separate, but one! Why do we resist this destiny? For most of us, this seems just too good and too dangerous to be true. There is so much contrary evidence! Are we afraid to bear the burden of divinity? It is precisely the divine part of you that is great enough, deep enough, gracious enough to fully accept the human part of you. If you are merely human, you will tend to reject your embarrassingly limited humanity.

Maybe we realize subconsciously that if we really recognized our True Self—which is the Divine Indwelling, the Holy Spirit within us—if we really believed that we are temples of God (see 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19; 2 Corinthians 6:16), then we would have to live up to this incredible dignity, freedom, and love.

Paradoxically, immense humility, not arrogance, characterizes the True Self. You simultaneously know you are a son or daughter of God, but you also know that you didn’t earn it and you are not worthy of it. You know it’s entirely a gift (see Ephesians 2:8-9 and throughout Paul’s writings). All you can do is thank Somebody Else, occasionally weep with joy, and kneel without any hesitation.

The single and true purpose of mature religion is to lead you to ever new experiences of your True Self. If religion does not do this, it is junk religion. Every sacrament, every Bible story, every church service, every sermon, every hymn, every bit of priesthood, ministry, or liturgy is for one purpose: to allow you to experience your True Self—who you are in God and who God is in you—and to live a generous and just life from that Infinite Source.


JUNE 20 I SPEAK TO YOU CONTINUALLY. My nature is to communicate, though not always in words. I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you. I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence. You can find Me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear. Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover My Presence. Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals. Gradually you will find Me in more and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? —PSALM 8:1–4

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. —PSALM 19:1–2

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own. —1 CORINTHIANS 6:19

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” —JEREMIAH 29:13

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

Reclaiming Jesus

June 19th, 2018

Reclaiming Jesus

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Earlier this year, I collaborated with a group of Christian leaders in the United States to write a statement to our churches, “Reclaiming Jesus: A Confession of Faith in a Time of Crisis.” [1] I invite you to meditate on three of our affirmations:
The church’s role is to change the world through the life and love of Jesus Christ. The government’s role is to serve the common good by protecting justice and peace, rewarding good behavior while restraining bad behavior (Romans 13). When that role is undermined by political leadership, faith leaders must stand up and speak out. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state.” [2]
I. WE BELIEVE each human being is made in God’s image and likeness (Genesis 1:26). That image and likeness confers a divinely decreed dignity, worth, and God-given equality to all of us as children of the one God who is the Creator of all things. Racial bigotry is a brutal denial of the image of God (the imago dei) in some of the children of God. Our participation in the global community of Christ absolutely prevents any toleration of racial bigotry. Racial justice and healing are biblical and theological issues for us, and are central to the mission of the body of Christ in the world. We give thanks for the prophetic role of the historic black churches in America when they have called for a more faithful gospel.
II. WE BELIEVE we are one body. In Christ, there is to be no oppression based on race, gender, identity, or class (Galatians 3:28). [I would add sexual orientation as well.] The body of Christ, where those great human divisions are to be overcome, is meant to be an example for the rest of society. When we fail to overcome these oppressive obstacles, and even perpetuate them, we have failed in our vocation to the world—to proclaim and live the reconciling gospel of Christ.
III. WE BELIEVE how we treat the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the stranger, the sick, and the prisoner is how we treat Christ himself. “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40). God calls us to protect and seek justice for those who are poor and vulnerable, and our treatment of people who are “oppressed,” “strangers,” “outsiders,” or otherwise considered “marginal” is a test of our relationship to God, who made us all equal in divine dignity and love. Our proclamation of the lordship of Jesus Christ is at stake in our solidarity with the most vulnerable. If our gospel is not “good news to the poor,” it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ (Luke 4:18).


Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling

June 19, 2018

I AM THE FIRM FOUNDATION on which you can dance and sing and celebrate My Presence. This is My high and holy calling for you; receive it as a precious gift. Glorifying and enjoying Me is a higher priority than maintaining a tidy, structured life. Give up your striving to keep everything under control—an impossible task and a waste of precious energy. My guidance for each of My children is unique. That’s why listening to Me is so vital for your well-being. Let me prepare you for the day that awaits you and point you in the right direction. I am with you continually, so don’t be intimidated by fear. Though it stalks you, it cannot harm you, as long as you cling to My hand. Keep your eyes on Me, enjoying Peace in My Presence.

PSALM 5:11; But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice.

EPHESIANS 3:20–21;Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the.

JUDE V V. 24–25; Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, And to present you faultless. Before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, 25 To God our Savior,

JOSHUA 1:5; No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you.

Be Peace and Justice

June 18th, 2018

A View from the Bottom
Sunday, June 17, 2018

Jesus’ basic justice agenda was simple living, humility, and love of neighbor. We all have to live this way ourselves. From that position, God can do God’s work rather easily. Unfortunately, even many who claim to follow Jesus have deviated from this path.

In almost all of history, the vast majority of people understood the “view from the bottom” due to their life circumstance. Most of the people who have ever lived on this planet have been oppressed and poor. But their history was seldom written except in the Bible and in recent books. [1]

This relatively new thing called “the middle class” gives many of us just enough comfort not to feel the pinch or worry about injustice for ourselves. Many of us in the Northern Hemisphere have a view from the top even though we are nowhere near the top. Many Americans can afford to be politically illiterate, rarely vote, and be terribly naive about money, war, and power.

Only by solidarity with other people’s suffering can comfortable people be converted. Otherwise we are disconnected from the cross—of the world, of others, of Jesus, and finally of our own necessary participation in the great mystery of dying and rising. People who are considered outsiders and at the bottom of society—the lame, poor, blind, prostitutes, tax collectors, “sinners”—are the ones who understand Jesus’ teaching. It’s the leaders and insiders (the priests, scribes, Pharisees, teachers of the law, and Roman officials) who crucify him.

Power invariably coalesces and corrupts. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, the first Christians went “underground,” meeting in the secrecy of the catacombs to avoid persecution. During this time, the Church was largely of the poor and for the poor, sharing resources equally.

When Constantine made Christianity the established religion of the Roman Empire starting in AD 313, the Church’s interests also started becoming imperial interests: power, money, status, control. Once aligned with power, it’s hard—if not almost impossible—to let it go.

Brian McLaren is not afraid to say directly that it is time for us to acknowledge Christianity’s past fraught with imperialism and colonialism:

About forty years before 1492, Pope Nicholas V issued an official document called Romanus Pontifex . . . which serves as the basis for what is commonly called the Doctrine of Discovery, the teaching that whatever Christians “discover,” they can take and use as they wish. . . . Christian global mission is defined as to “invade, search out, capture, vanquish, and subdue” non-Christians around the world, and to steal “all movable and immovable goods” and to “reduce their persons to perpetual slavery”—and not only them, but their descendants. And notice the stunning use of the word convert: “to convert them to his and their use and profit.” [2]

In addition to this doctrine, selective use and interpretation of the Bible was used to justify slavery for centuries. Scripture is still used by some today to exclude and judge LGBTQIA individuals, even though Jesus said very little about sexuality and a great deal about other things we conveniently ignore. How could we have twisted Jesus’ example and teaching into something so inhumane and unjust? But we did.


Be Peace and Justice Monday, June 18, 2018 Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM

Yesterday I shared how far Christianity has strayed from Jesus’ vision of justice, even though his teaching was crystal clear. Francis (1182-1226) and Clare (1194-1253) of Assisi understood his message and modeled a similar agenda: a simple lifestyle outside the system of production and consumption (the real meaning of the vow of poverty) and conscious identification with the marginalized of society (the communion of saints pushed to its outer edge). In this position, we do not “do” acts of peace and justice as much as our lifestyle itself is peace and justice. Think about that.

By “living on the edge of the inside” I mean building on the solid Tradition (“from the inside”) but doing it from a new and creative stance where you cannot be co-opted (“on the edge”) for purposes of security, possessions, or the illusions of power. Today, many of us try to find personal and individual freedom even as we remain inside a system of consumption that we are unable or unwilling to critique. We cannot remove the plank on which we are standing. Evil tends to hide even more in systems and institutions than in individuals. [1]

The way of radical Christianity is to stay outside of such systems—insofar as possible—so they cannot control our breadth of thinking, feeling, loving, and living out universal justice. We can only re-enter them from this new place of inner freedom. This has seldom been taught, and thus most of us are on bended knee to and codependent with almost all public institutions.

We lost our unique and prophetic way when we turned Jesus into a chummy best friend and Brother Francis into “Saint Francis,” and it was no longer considered foolish to say that you followed Jesus or Francis. A prophet’s lifestyle is never fashionable or safe.

When you agree to live simply, you do not consider the refugee, the homeless person, or the foreigner as a threat or competition. You have chosen their marginal state for yourself—freely and consciously becoming “visitors and pilgrims” in this world, as Francis put it (quoting 1 Peter 2:11). A simple lifestyle is an act of solidarity with the way most people have lived since the beginnings of humanity.

As I’ve said many times, “the best criticism of the bad is the practice of the better.” This approach guards against the most common criticism of religion in general and social-justice work in particular, which, frankly, has tended to produce many negative, oppositional, and judgmental people—from reactionary conservatives to limousine liberals.

We must move to the laboratory where radical change can occur—inside of our very mind, heart, and the cells of our body. Contemplative practice rewires our inner life, giving us a kind of “emotional sobriety.” It opens us to an inner sense of divine union so we can do the needed works of justice with peace and enduring passion.

Our spirituality forms our inner lives and is then lived outwardly in the world, which is to live a life of love and justice for others. True contemplation must become action.

I chose you before the foundation of the world, to walk with Me along paths designed uniquely for you. Concentrate on keeping in step with Me instead of trying to anticipate My plans for you. If you trust that My plans are to prosper you and not to harm you, you can relax and enjoy the present moment. Your hope and your future are rooted in heaven, where eternal ecstasy awaits you. Nothing can rob you of your inheritance of unimaginable riches and well-being. Sometimes I grant you glimpses of your glorious future, to encourage you and spur you on. But your main focus should be staying close to Me. I set the pace in keeping with your needs and My purposes.

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. —EPHESIANS 1:4 NASB

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. —PROVERBS 16:9

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” —JEREMIAH 29:11

And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory. —EPHESIANS 1:13–14

Young, Sarah. Jesus Calling