The universal christ by richard rohr

“How might the notion of Christ change the whole equation? Is Christ simply Jesus’s last name? Or is it a revealing title that deserves our full attention? How is Christ’s function or role different from Jesus’s? What does Scripture mean when Peter says in his very first address to the crowds after Pentecost that ‘God has made this Jesus . . . both Lord and Christ’ (Acts 2:36)? Weren’t they always one and the same, starting at Jesus’s birth?

And so Fr. Richard Rohr lays out his premise for one of his most transformational books yet. He says that he is slowing down and in the waning years of his life, however, his writing of the last few years has been an eye opening experience into his walk with Christ from the time he started the journey.

Some will say that Rohr encroaches on the edge of universalism in this newest venture, and yet, is that necessarily a bad thing? To encounter a loving God that loves all of creation, which God has created? While discussing other religions, his focus remains true to the Gospel and what Christ means to all of humanity through that lens.

I have been sitting on this book for some time now and not sure why I had waited so long to finally pick it up to read. Rohr brings his experience as a Franciscan Friar to the table in much of his discussion and he brings as greater understanding as to what it means to be Franciscan in the world today.

When we make Christ about us and how Christ interacts for us, we discount the greater world. The world is an entire ecosystem that is called to work together in harmony. Yet, that is where we fall short as humanity. Rohr states, “Unless we find the communal meaning and significance of the suffering of all life and ecosystems on our planet, we will continue to retreat into our individual, small worlds in our quest for personal safety and sanity. Privitized salvation never accumulates into corporate change because it attracts and legitimates individualists to begin with. Think about that.”

The reader is invited into a deeper reflection as to what God means and ultimately who Christ is in their life. It is an invitation that elicits prayer and meditation. It is an invitation that is much needed at this time in our society.

By Alex Steward

I am a husband, father, and pastor within the ELCA. I did not grow up in the church and thus come at this pastoring thing with an unique perspective.

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