I live in Kansas City, Mo., but recently celebrated Sunday liturgy with a church community in another area of the country. It was a Sunday in ordinary time with no special celebrations, religious or secular. The parish must have been in the middle of a stewardship or fundraising drive because the homilist, while touching on the scriptures, spoke a lot about the need for parishioners to share time, treasure and talent. That may be a catchy phrase, but it seems somewhat stale without being connected and anchored to any deeper images. Unfortunately I found my mind wandering. I don’t believe the homilist was unconvinced about his message, but he seemed not to know how to express it so it caught fire and came alive.
Fr. Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province. He founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati in 1971, and the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque in 1986, where he presently serves as its founding director. He is a regular contributor to Sojourners and Tikkun magazines, and the author of books such as Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality and Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation.
He is a sought-after speaker and retreat giver. Themes he addresses include the integration of action and contemplation, community-building, peace and justice issues, male spirituality, eco-spirituality, and the cosmic Christ. In this section, NCR’s Rich Heffern talks with Rohr about this last subject, how Jesus fits into the new universe story.
PORTLAND, ORE. -- Reflections of blinking white bike lights danced up and down the organ pipes inside St. Stephen’s Episcopal Parish here on a recent Monday night. On the north wall, Lady Madonna had 35 bicyclists at her feet.
Pushing their bikes inside the church, the riders had escaped the autumn chill of downtown Portland. They had come to watch the Rev. Dennis Parker bless the nation’s first known church shrine honoring the Madonna del Ghisallo -- patron saint of cyclists.
“Creator God,” Parker said as he bowed his head in a corner of the sanctuary that held four long pews, “we ask that on this day you be with us in our travels.”
It started in the blackberry patch. As a kid one July day I was taken to an overgrown pasture outside of town where gallons of this delicious wild fruit hung, free for the taking, on thorn-bristling vines that dropped heavily toward the earth. We filled our pails with berries until our hands were stained dark blue and then hauled them home to use in pies, cobblers and homemade ice cream.
My fishing buddy’s a Freemason. Who would have thought that he would transform my experience of the Rosary? One day he handed me a box. Someone had given him a set of Rosary beads with instructions how to use them. He figured that I’d know what to do with them.
For more than four decades, Harvey Cox has been one of America's most influential and provocative theologians.
In his new book, The Future of Faith," Cox argues that Christianity is moving from an "Age of Belief" dominated by creeds and church hierarchies to an "Age of Spirit," in which spirituality is replacing formal religion.
Cox, who is retiring from Harvard, spoke about why he believes creeds are divisive, religion on campus, and why Pope Benedict XVI didn't invite him to lunch.
Earth and Spirit
When we breathe out a heartfelt “Wow!” we are praying, for it’s more than just an element of surprise, originality, or a coolness factor that elicits this expression.
Kabir, a 12th-century Indian mystic, said: “When we say, ‘Ahhhhh!’ and say it with a deep sigh” -- the kind of exclamation that comes from our depths whenever we witness some aspect of the world’s blessing -- “that ‘Ahhhhh!’ is one of God’s most beautiful names.”
These days, some things may still be impossible to find online, but adoration chapels are not among them. Go to www.therealpresence.org, pick out your state on the big map and click. Up will pop a list of churches that expose the consecrated host for adoration, along with hours of operation and contact numbers.
Regardless of the city, the list should be striking for its length.
Ten o’clock one night, the on-call phone rang.
“I need to speak to Shane.”
I didn’t know who was calling or why. I tried to explain I didn’t know a Shane and there was no one on staff by that name. Disgruntled, the lady hung up. The next morning I got another call, from another person asking for Shane. This person tried to explain the situation. He started by telling me his story.
Katie was a second-grader in one of our schools. One Friday at art class as the teacher roamed the aisles checking progress, she stopped at Katie’s desk and asked, “Well, Katie, what are you drawing?”
“I am drawing a picture of God,” Katie said proudly.
“Katie,” the teacher answered, “you can’t draw a picture of God. Nobody knows what God looks like.”
Katie said, “They will when I’m finished.”