Review of The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr

The Universal Christ is Richard Rohr’s hot-off-the-press book – and it’s an absolute gem!

The book is a call to personal spiritual transformation and action for peace in the world. Rohr invites the reader to explore a richer understanding of Jesus in both his humanity and his divinity – a Jesus Christ for our time. Readers who receive Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations will have received tasters of the book’s content of late. I’ve been a student of Rohr, (Cynthia) Bourgeault and (Jim) Finley, at the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico for the past two years. In my view, this book encapsulates well Rohr’s core teachings.

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Drawing on a lifetime of study and human enquiry as a Franciscan priest and teacher of the Christian contemplative path, Rohr offers a series of profound insights that take the reader on a journey. The journey begins in Part 1, titled ‘Another Name for Everything’ in which he explores who and what ‘Christ’ is, drawing on rich insights from science and from many of the Christian mystics. In Part 2, ‘The Great Comma’, he takes the reader deeply into the humanity of Jesus, openly critiquing church teachings for offering “a disembodied Jesus”. Rohr states “Humanity needs a Jesus who is historical, relevant for real life, physical and concrete, like we are…a Jesus we can practically imitate, and who sets the bar for what it means to be fully human. And a Christ who is big enough to hold all creation together in one harmonious unity.” (p.107)

While the content may sound heavy, Rohr writes in his usual conversational style that is very honest, often humorous, and truly heart-warming. As an example, after dedicating the book to his recently deceased dog he later writes “Honestly, and without any stretch, my dog Venus taught me more about ‘real presence’ over a fifteen-year period than my theological manual ever did.” (p.132). The writing style invites personal reflection. This book lends itself to being slowly savoured personally, but also broken open collectively. It is a book worthy of shared study by a circle of friends or small faith community – and there is a companion study guide available for purchase. The Universal Christ is highly recommended to anyone who has an inkling that Christ is truly another name for everything, a force of Love at the heart of the universe.

See also Richard Rohr’s Podcast: Another Name for Everything which is yet another rich resource available to us:

Posted on 19/07/2019 by Pat Neuwelt