The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder
"Progress is never a straight and uninterrupted line, but we have all been formed by the Western Philosophy of Progress that tells us it is, leaving us despairing and cynical....We are indeed 'saved' by knowing and surrendering to this universal pattern of reality. Knowing the full pattern allows us to let go of our first order, trust the disorder, and, sometimes even hardest of all—to trust the new reorder. Three big leaps of faith for all of us, and each of a different character."
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We’re using this book in our Cor Women’s Spiritual Reading. It provides many deep topics for discussion and much thought for reflection. It’s challenging but rewarding.
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This book was both inspiring and provocative for me. Some of Father Rohr's insights are profound, and I probably have not penetrated the depths of them. His understanding of the cross and of the symbolism of death and resurrection were more meaningful to me, as a person and in my work as a psychiatrist, than the more extant interpretations - of punishment for the sins of humanity. I could go on and on with the positives. I love the notion of religion that calls us to own our aggression and hate and badness rather than project them on to the other (the psychoanalyst, Melanie Klein, saw this as the difference between the "depressive position" and the "paranoid schizoid position" - the former being a more mature view that integrates love and hate, the later being a more primitive position that splits love and hate, projects hate, and sees it as coming at us from the outside). Father Rohr seems to advocate religion from the more mature "depressive position". His ideas speak to a spirituality that transcends particular religion. His universal perspective removed a block between me and Christianity. I love the sense of the cross as the intersection where uncertainties and ambiguities lie. The notion that the cross, that painful wounding, if properly attended, can shatter the small ego and its illusion of control, and opens us to a transcendent meaning or reality, as it did for Job, resonates with Buddhism. I once heard a Buddhist priest make just that interpretation of Job, that it was only when his assumptions about the way the world was supposed to work were shattered one by one that he came before God.
What made the reading hard for me, though, was my sense of Father Rohr's tendency to create extreme caricatures - of deconstructionism or of victims rightfully demanding recognition, presenting the most extreme or even perverse cases as the norm. Deconstructionism does not mean we cannot know anything, it means that we can only know something from a perspective or a position, and that perspective is influenced by complex social factors that include power dynamics. This seems entirely reasonable to me. And many if not most oppressed groups that demand recognition have not disowned any responsibility for their lives. Of course there are those that pervert this demand for recognition into an extreme, but they are not the norm. His view of traditional and conservative communities also seems overly idealized. I take his point, that the securely attached child is more able to leave the safe base and explore and play. But I have more often seen these communities give rise to closed mindedness and rigidity. He described the alternative to the polite kids in his brother's traditional and conservative Catholic community - "cynicism and sarcasm about almost everything" (pg. 59). Thats a bit insulting Father. My kids were not like that nor were those of any of my liberal friends. He tells us to give him time and he will work his way back to the middle, and he at least nods toward the middle on polarizing issues, though he spills more ink at the margins. I just wish he would start in the middle and work his way to the extremes, extremes such as the perversion of rightful pursuits. Father Rohr tells us in the book that when we take an extreme position we have to own responsibility for pushing the other into an extreme, reactionary response. Perhaps Father Rohr needs to own a bit of that himself. Despite my own reactionary response, I am a liberal deconstructionist finding my way to the church and more identified with the path of the deconstructionist doubting Thomas - who had to find the "holes" in the argument, I plan to read Father Rohr's other books.
Jose' Saporta, MD
I love this book and ordered one for a friend. Plan to reread several times.
Here's a quote from St. Bonaventure; "God is within all things, but not enclosed; outside all things, but not excluded; above all things, but not aloof, below all things, but not debased". One would do well to move from 'order, disorder, reorder' while applying the thought and sentiment of this quote.
Product Type: Book
Item Number: #B53346
Publication Date: 5/1/2020
BISAC: RELIGION / Spirituality
Imprint: Franciscan Media
Trim Size: 139.7 mm X 215.9 mm X
(Approx. 5.5 in X 8.5 in X )
List Price: $ 18.99