The Universal Christ by Richard Rohr (Part three)
More notes on Richard Rohr’s book The Universal Christ
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This week I’m going to conclude my notes on Richard Rohr’s latest book ‘The Universal Christ’. There are many more notes I could share, but three parts is probably enough!
My focus this week is on chapter five, which is titled ‘Love is the meaning’. Rohr proposes that love is the energy in and between everything. Literally.
And no one religion or group has a monopoly on love. Christian or Muslim, gay or straight, black or white, rich or poor – love is love.
How do we know when love is flowing though? It usually starts with small acts. Making an effort to reach out to someone who is alone is an example of love. Love reaches. Love includes. Love moves towards others.
Love, like water, doesn’t seek higher places. It always moves lower. And it is most powerfully displayed through the act of forgiveness. Nothing is as strong an indicator of love.
‘Love,’ says Rohr, ‘is a flow of energy willingly allowed and exchanged, without requiring payment in return.’
Christians talk of God’s love and of God loving humanity. But, according to Rohr, we can only come to know divine love through the school of human love. Paradoxically, it is hard to love humans well without God’s love working within us.
Rohr suggests that parenting and family are the primary school for ‘unearthing the love instinct’. Love teaches us to give ourselves to imperfect things.
God can use anything to get the flow of love moving in our lives. Love for a cat or a dog is still love.
‘All human loves, passions, and preoccupations,’ says Rohr, ‘can prime the love pump, and only in time do most of us discover the first and final Source of those loves.’
It doesn’t matter what triggers the flow of love in our lives. In that moment, that thing is God for us. God is love, the Bible teaches. When we encounter love, in whatever form, we are encountering God.