822: Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin
Day 822: Thursday, June 16, 2022
Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin again.
Struggling with Christianity: Rebuilding from the Bottom Up
Our religion is not working well: suffering, fear, violence, injustice, greed, and meaninglessness still abound. This is not even close to the reign of God that Jesus taught.
And we must be frank: in their behavior and impact upon the world, Christians are not much different than other people.
Many Christians are not highly transformed people; instead, they tend to reflect their own culture more than they operate as any kind of leaven within it. I speak especially of American Christians, because I am one. But if you are from another country, look at the Christians where you live and see if the same is true there.
Let’s be honest: religion has probably never had such a bad name. Christianity is now seen as “irrelevant” by some, “toxic” by many, and often as a large part of the problem rather than any kind of solution. Some of us are almost embarrassed to say we are Christian because of the negative images that word conjures in others’ minds. Young people especially are turned off by how judgmental, exclusionary, impractical, and ineffective Christian culture seems to be.
Most Christians have not been taught how to plug into the “mind of Christ”; thus, they often reflect the common mind of power, greed, and war instead. The dualistic mind reads reality in simple binaries—good and bad, right and wrong—and thinks itself smart because it chooses one side. This is getting us nowhere.
Throughout the history of Christianity, it would seem Jesus’ teaching has had little impact, except among people who surrendered to great love and great suffering.
Could this be the real core of the Gospel? Such people experience God rather than merely have disconnected ideas about God. We need to rely on the mind of mystics now to offer any kind of alternative—contemplative or nondual—consciousness. We need practice-based religion that teaches us how to connect with the Infinite in ways that actually change us from our finite perspectives.
We must rediscover what St. Francis of Assisi (1182–1226) called the “marrow of the Gospel.”  It’s time to rebuild from the bottom up. If the foundation is not solid and sure, everything we try to build on top of it is weak and ineffective.
Perhaps it’s a blessing in disguise that so much is tumbling down around us. It’s time to begin again. In the year 1205, Jesus spoke to Francis through the San Damiano cross: “Francis, rebuild my church, for you see it is falling into ruin.”
If Jesus himself says the church is falling into ruin, I guess we can admit it also without being accused of being negative or unbelieving. Maybe we have to admit it for anything new and good to happen.
Note: For over fifty years as a Franciscan priest, Father Richard Rohr has worked to reawaken Christians to the radical and transformative message of Jesus. It’s a message that is often distorted by culture and even by the Christian tradition itself.
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditations
From the Center for Action and Contemplation