Saturday, July 19, 2014

A Rohr-ing problem in my head. Help!!

I read this interview with Richard Rohr, and to be honest, I am reeling a little.

I have heard and read some of Richard's stuff, largely posted (or referred to) by others whose opinions I respect, but this answer of his has me really .... feeling aarghhhh!

This is only a portion of the interview, and the bit that is bugging me...What are your thoughts?

Interviewer:The question people go to again and again is What about the babies who die in Egypt? What about the villagers who get slaughtered in Judges? What about all the violence?

Richard replies:When it says Yahweh says… I know they [the writers of the Bible] wouldn’t like this but Yahweh didn’t say that. They said that. Like we do. We project our own consciousness onto God to justify our own evil behavior. We still do that-but that’s a totally different narrative for an evangelical. To them, it sounds as if you’re really relativizing the Bible. But you have to start with the human if you get the divine. Protestantism didn’t really get the incarnation-they so overplayed the redemption cross salvation through the cross thing. See from the Franciscan school the incarnation was the redemption…once God chose to be human it was good to be human! The choice of the incarnation was everything. We really popularized Christmas, Christmas was not the big feast in the first 1200 years of Christianity. Easter rightly so, was. But because of the whole Franciscan school we really sentimentalized Christmas which we still have to this day.
The incarnation solves the problem. Problem solved. I don’t need blood sacrifice to know that it’s good to be a human being.
* * * *
(read the whole interview here) (ALL EMPHASIS MINE)
  • "God didn't say that?"  SO then how will we know if everything else he said was in fact, him?
  • "The choice of the incarnation was everything.  The incarnation was the redemption. The incarnation is enough - we don't need a blood sacrifice to know it is good to be a human?"                           What's good got to do with anything?
  • "Protestantism didn’t really get the incarnation - they so overplayed the redemption cross salvation through the cross thing."  

THE CROSS THING??????????? 
  the cross THING????   
I really want to understand what he is saying here, I have heard so much that I really have loved that Richard Rohr has said, and yet this - this, "overplaying the cross thing" - what does that even mean?
The incarnation IS the redemption??  
Help me out here people.  I am not looking for a theological beating for either myself or him, I just want your thoughts on this too. 


Lost in Translation...............


  1. I'm reeling right along with you
    Can't believe what I'm reading . . .

    1. I am trying to think that perhaps this interview doesn't give us a full picture of his line of thought, I am trying to figure out how this can not mean what it seems to be meaning...

  2. Again a human interpretation......let the Spirit guide you and you will know what is right. Let it go, let it go....

    1. "Laughinig" --are you singing that song while you write that!?

    2. Yes! Hoped it would make you smile :-)

    3. You succeeded! Thank you! :D

  3. My take on this is rather a simplistic one - in the Bible (& in life), there are always going to be things we don't understand. We live in a brief moment in time - a split second - within the eternity of forever. The Bible is a single
    cross-stitch in a colossal tapestry. We get a
    fragment of what happened - God's plan is so
    much bigger -" no eye has seen, no ear has
    heard, no mind has conceived...." There will be no easy answers this side of eternity - if
    there were we wouldn't be living by faith. As
    for Rohr, you can't explain God, no matter how
    much you try.

    1. Hey Helga,
      Thanks for the response. I've spent a fair amount of time in study so it's not that I want answers to Scripture questions. I have questions of my own that I know will one day be answered and it doesn't phase me that I have them. I am OK with questions about Scripture, and I think God is too!

      However, I want to know HOW he comes out at his point of view. So yes, I agree, none of us can explain God, but I also don't think one can minimise the cross without completely ignoring the rest of Scripture and how it all fits together, and how the incarnation itself can possibly be redemption. I can see it being the beginning or a step toward the redemption plan working out, but certainly not the end of the plan.

      Does that make sense?

  4. His casual, trite brush 'the cross thing' hints at a far deeper problem in his theology.

    1. It would appear to be so, doesn't it? I don't want to jump to conclusions like others have about other writers, having only read a portion of what they are trying to convey - so am hoping someone can shed more light on this than the small piece here.

  5. I also don't understand how he can say "We really popularized Christmas, Christmas was not the big feast in the first 1200 years of Christianity. Easter rightly so, was. But because of the whole Franciscan school we really sentimentalized Christmas which we still have to this day."

    If Easter was the one to be 'popularised' - then how can you talk about the "cross thing". Surely if he believes that the incarnation is redemption, then surely he should believe that Christmas is IT.

    Unless of course, he is saying this is what the Franciscan school of thought was and he disagrees?? *sigh*

  6. This is something he wrote in 2011... is it me, or is it very different to his view now?
    "Holy Week: Meditation 7 … Easter

    Fr. Richard Rohr celebrates the holy resurrection of the Lord like this:

    Christ Crucified is all of the hidden, private, tragic pain of history made public and given over to God. Christ Resurrected is all of that private, ungrieved, unnoted suffering received, loved, and transformed by an All-Caring God. How else could we believe in God at all? How else could we have any kind of cosmic hope? How else would we not die of sadness for what humanity has done to itself and to one another?Jesus is the blueprint, the plan, the pattern revealed in one body and moment of history to reveal the meaning of all of history and each of our lives. The cross is the banner of what we do to one another and to God. The resurrection is the banner of what God does to us in return.

    Easter is the announcement of God’s perfect and final victory."

    Taken from here:


So, what do you think?