Richard Rohr Biography & Facts
Richard Rohr, (born 1943) is an American Franciscan priest and writer on spirituality based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was ordained to the priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church in 1970. In 2011, PBS called him "one of the most popular spirituality authors and speakers in the world".
Life and ministry
Rohr was born in Kansas in 1943. He received his Master of Theology degree in 1970 from the University of Dayton. He entered the Franciscans in 1961 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1970. Rohr founded the New Jerusalem Community in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1971 and the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1986, where he serves as founding director and academic dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. The curriculum of Rohr's school is founded on seven themes developed by Rohr and explored in his book Yes, And....In his 2016 book The Divine Dance, Rohr suggests that the top-down hierarchy of western Christianity since Emperor Constantine has held ecumenical traditions back for centuries, and that the future of people of faith will have to involve a bottom-up approach. Rohr maintains what he would call prophetic positions, on the "edge of the inside" of a church that he sees as failing to transform people, and thus increasingly irrelevant. In a critique of Rohr published in the New Oxford Review, Reverend Bryce Sibley writes that Rohr asserts that God holds both the masculine and the feminine together rather than either or binary dualistic thinking and criticizes ecumenical religious rituals that focus on rules rather than the paramount centrality of relationship with God, and neighbor.In 2000, Rohr publicly endorsed Soulforce, an organization that challenges what it calls religion-based LGBTQ oppression through nonviolent protest. In a 1999 essay, and afterward, Rohr has welcomed and affirmed God's love for LGBTQ people, emphasizing that God asks the same of people in same-sex relationships as of those in heterosexual ones: "truth, faithfulness, and striving to enter into covenants of continuing forgiveness of one another".In his teaching on scripture, such as in his book Things Hidden, Rohr calls the biblical record a human account of humanity's evolving experience with God, "the word of God in the words of people". His book Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self suggests Jesus's death and resurrection is an archetypal pattern for the movement from "false self" to "true self", from "who you think you are" to "who you are in God". Rohr's 2014 book Eager to Love explores the key themes of Franciscan spirituality, which he sees as a "third way" between traditional orthodoxy and heresy, a way of focusing on the Gospel, justice, and compassion.Rohr emphasizes "alternative orthodoxy", a term the Franciscan tradition has applied to itself, referring to a focus on "orthopraxis"—a belief that lifestyle and practice are much more important than mere verbal orthodoxy, which he feels is much overlooked in Catholic preaching today. According to Rohr's teachings, a person does not have to follow Jesus or practice any formal religion to come by salvation, but rather "fall in love with the divine presence, under whatever name". Rohr says people are disillusioned with conservative churches that teach that nonbelievers go to Hell. The Perennial Tradition, or Perennial Philosophy, forms the basis of much of his teaching; his work's essential message focuses on the union of divine reality with all things and the human potential and longing for this union. Rohr and other 21st-century spiritual leaders explore the Perennial Tradition in the Center for Action and Contemplation's issue of the publication Oneing.Influences on Rohr outside of Christianity include Buddhism and Hinduism, Gandhi, Carl Jung, Spiral Dynamics, the Enneagram of Personality, and Ken Wilber's Integral Theory.On July 1, 2022, Pope Francis met with Rohr, who said that Francis expressed support for his work.
According to Douglas Groothuis, professor of philosophy at Denver Seminary, Rohr draws on Eastern mysticism rather than biblical Christianity by preaching to find our "true self" instead of knowing a savior distinct from the self. Groothuis argues that Rohr's fundamental claims about the "universal Christ" and Pantheistic worldview subvert the "biblical worldview with most egregious errors" and that Rohr manipulates the scriptures to support his pantheistic or panentheistic worldview, rather than monotheism. Groothuis argues that Rohr contradicts the Christian doctrine that creation and the creator (God) are different entities with infinite separation. He further says that Rohr's writings parallel New Age christologies which, he says, misread the biblical texts. Groothuis criticizes Rohr's reference to creation as the first incarnation of "the universal Christ", arguing that this contradicts biblical doctrine. Groothuis says that Rohr distorts the gospel since his emanational metaphysics is based on perennial tradition.Erwin Lutzer, an evangelical pastor, has criticized Rohr for promoting universalism and a New Age spirituality that eschews specific doctrines and basic biblical teaching. Lutzer said that Rohr's book The Divine Dance "is not about the Trinity, but rather Rohr imaginatively uses Trinitarian language in order to give a backdrop to his own eclectic spiritual teaching".William P. Young, a Christian author, has commented on Rohr's ideas, saying that people who are frustrated with their churches might misread Rohr's works as advocating a vague spirituality disconnected from the orthodox and scriptural understanding of Christ. According to Young, "The danger of universalism is nothing matters, especially Jesus". He adds, "Some of Rohr's followers can read it that way". Rohr has reported that a group of local Catholics secretly recorded his sermons to have him excommunicated. They delivered the tapes to the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, then Archbishop of Cincinnati, who reviewed them and determined that they were within the bounds of the Church's teachings.
Wild Man's Journey: Reflections on Male Spirituality (Saint Anthony Messenger Press, ISBN 0-86716-279-1, 1986; Revised edition 1996)
Simplicity, Revised & Updated: The Freedom of Letting Go (1991, reissued by Crossroad Publishing Co, U.S.; 2nd New edition of Revised edition, 2004) ISBN 978-0-8245-2115-8
Near Occasions of Grace (Orbis Books (USA), 1993) ISBN 978-0-88344-852-6
Quest for the Grail: Soul Work and the Sacred Journey (1994, reissued by Crossroad Publishing Co, U.S.; New edition, 1997) ISBN 978-0-8245-1654-3
Jesus' Plan for a New World: The Sermon on the Mount (with J. Feister) (St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996) ISBN 978-0-86716-203-5
Radical Grace: Daily Meditations (edited by John Bookser Feister) (1993, reissued by St. Anthony Messenger Press, 1996) ISBN 978-0-86716-257-8
The Good News According to Luke: Spiritual Reflections (Cro.... Discover the Richard Rohr popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Richard Rohr books.