Everything Belongs – Richard Rohr Review

I was first introduced to Richard Rohr in college by seeing various quotes and blog posts of his on Facebook. I didn’t like him at first. He seemed like a liberal Christian, not in a political sense, though there was some parallels, but in that he was not serious about the Bible and his beliefs were more about his own feelings (oh how I cringe now at my thinking). However, the more I read him, the more I appreciated his thoughtful, nuanced, contemplative approach to understanding the world and Theology.

My first summer in grad school I stumbled upon a blog that mentioned the Enneagram. The personality system really struck a chord with me. It made so much sense! The Enneagram really helped me understand myself. My brother bought me Richard Rohr’s Enneagram, A Christian Perspective for Christmas and I loved it.

Fast forward to last year, my mentor and I had been talking about prayer. I have been thinking about prayer for a long time, and the many ways of doing it. My mentor and I both gravitate towards the contemplative and mystical (though it took me many years to fully embrace this). So we decided to read Rohr’s Everything Belongs with the subtitle the gift of contemplative prayer.

One thing that I like about Rohr (and used to dislike) is his use of different religious/spiritual traditions and words to explore concepts. I think this helps many people from different backgrounds find commonality and understand each other. I think that often people’s problems with each other is not differing beliefs, but semantics (a blog post I plan to write about at a later period).

Funnily enough, Rohr does not actually talk about prayer itself that much, but more about how we are connected to God. God is not separated from us, but we separate ourselves from God. When we separate ourselves from God, we create a disconnect from our true selves and create discontent. Only when we rest in God, can we find true freedom and who God has made us to be.

Practices such as contemplation, meditation, and rest can help us clear our mind. Becoming like children (Matt 18:3) and the principle of nothingness (I will talk about these related things in another post) help us understand the principle of emptying and learning every day.  

Most important, being humble helps us not hold to tightly to our understanding and creates receptivity to new or deeper understanding that God is trying to teach us. God often uses suffering to teach us if we let him. This process of growth is called sanctification by Christians or Enlightenment by those in the East. Prayer is not just when we sit down and close our eyes to talk to God, but something we can do every moment (1 Thess. 5:17) through our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

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