Tag Archives: Richard Rohr

Quiet, please!

“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength.”

“Thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel,” according to the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 30:15).

New RiverEugene Peterson, translator of The Message, says in his introduction to the prophet Nahum, “God’s characteristic way of working is in quietness and through prayer… If we are conditioned to respond to noise and size, we will miss God’s word and action.”

And Richard Rohr writes, “You cannot talk God into ‘coming’ into you by longer and more urgent prayers. All you can do is become quieter, smaller, and less filled with your own self and your constant flurry of ideas and feelings. Then God will be obvious in the very now of things, and in the simplicity of things.”

I’m going to stop writing now… be quiet and listen.


Either or, and yet

sunset at Ala Moana parkI’ve lived most of my life as a black-and-white kinda guy. Good or bad. Right or wrong. I was raised that way. And it fit my personality just fine.

And then, some six or seven years ago, the shades of gray in the middle began to emerge. I thought the shift was a sign of maturity… or a more intentional prayer practice… or perhaps it came through the influence of some of the great authors I was reading, or the great preaching I was hearing. Probably all of the above.

I began to think: I’ve been wrong all my life. Very few issues are black-and-white. Nobody is all good or all bad. Few issues can be reduced to a simple declaration of right or wrong.

Recently, a new awareness has begun to emerge in my psyche: Those years of living in a black-and-white world were foundational and crucial to spiritual growth. They provided the “container” for who I am… and who I am becoming.

Richard Rohr has written extensively and well about this concept. He calls it “Second Half of Life” wisdom.

“Second half of life” wisdom requires prayer and discernment more than knee-jerk responses toward either conservative or liberal ends of the spectrum. You have a spectrum of responses now, and they are not all predictable, as is too often the case with most knee-jerk responses. Law is still necessary, of course, but it is not your guiding star, or even close. It has been wrong and cruel too many times. The Eight Beatitudes speak to you much more than the Ten Commandments as you grow older. Life is much more spacious now. The boundaries of the container have been enlarged. You are like an expandable suitcase, and you became so almost without your noticing. Now you are just here, and here holds more than enough.

 – From Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, by Richard Rohr, pp. 118-119

I’m not there yet. And I never will be. And that’s OK.

Don’t give up pain too soon

There is pain, disappointment and, of course, hard work associated with doing anything worthwhile.

I’m certainly finding that true as we’re struggling with revisions to the first draft of our screenplay for “The Prodigal Project.”

Fortunately, there are wonderful people around who continually cheer us on and affirm us.

I know, intellectually, that pain is a necessary ingredient to significant creative work. But that doesn’t keep me from wanting to get past the pain as quickly as possible.

I was recently reminded, through a daily devotional message by Richard Rohr, that it is through the pain of mystery and unknowing that we learn to listen… really listen to what God is trying to tell us.

Richard Rohr

He writes, “In terms of soul work, we dare not get rid of pain before we have learned what it has to teach us. Much that we call entertainment, vacations, or recreation are merely diversionary tactics, and they do not ‘re-create’ us at all. The word vacation is from the same root as vacuum, and means to ’empty out,’ not to fill up. One wonders how many people actually have such vacations! We must be taught HOW to stay with the pain of life, without answers, without conclusions, and some days without meaning.” – Adapted from Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer, pp. 43-47, by Richard Rohr.

A more secular expression of the same idea is found in that wonderful exchange between Tom Hanks and Geena Davis in the 1992 movie, “A League of Their Own” directed by Penny Marshall and written by Kim Wilson, Kelly Candaele, Lowell Ganz, & Babaloo Mandel.

Davis’ character is quitting the baseball team because, she says, “It just got too hard.” Hanks replies, “Hard?! Of course it’s hard. It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”