The Naked Now

Richard Rohr, in his book The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, sets-up a framework for seeing as contemplatives see.  At the outset of his book, however, he includes some of his wonderings with regards to modern faith and religion.

I have wondered why the major religions rarely produce many active peacemakers.

I have wondered why atheism is most common in Christian and Western cultures, and why formerly religious people are often the most anti-religious.

I have wondered why many people close down any threatening discussion by searching quickly for a single “but.”

I have wondered why political thinking is so jingoistic and seems little able to work toward consensus or the common good.

I have wondered why the reasons for most wars in history – reasons that seemed so compelling at the time – look foolish, wrong, or often naive to later generations.

What are your wonderings? Rohr encourages us to “sit with our wonders,” and while acknowledging pain, skepticism, and negativity, being able to move beyond – move through – to reach a place of real contemplation.  To be sure, it’s an art of re-thinking and re-seeing.  Seeing anew!

Ironically, and perhaps paradoxically, too,  the inner freedom cultivated in this re-seeing  allows for authentic communion with the Triune God.

Rohr says it best.

True spirituality is not a search for perfection or control or the door to the next world; it is search for the divine union now.

Common religion seeks private perfection; the mystics seek and enjoy the foundation itself – divine union, totally given.  Personal perfection insists on private knowing and certitude.

So much religious seeking today is immature transcendence, dualistically split off from any objective experience of union with God, self, or others.

Rohr says the solution to all this best, too.

The most amazing fact about Jesus, unlike almost any other religious founder, is that he found God in disorder and imperfection – and told us that we must do the same or we would never be content on this earth.

I hope more of us are courageous enough to see as the mystics did.  To see anew, re-vision, re-birth, and re-imagine what it means to believe as Christians today.

It’s not in rules.  Doctrine.  Certitude.  Knowing.  Rigidity.

Rather, it’s re-seeing.  Experience.  Uncertainty.  Unknowing.  Fluidity.

Rohr, Richard. (2009).  The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See.  New York: Crossroad Publishing.


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