Franciscan Father Richard Rohr’s Yes, And... Daily Meditations is a collection of 366 meditations — yes, leap year is included — for each day of the year.

Rohr offers daily dose of meditations

By  Sara Stratton, Catholic Register Special
  • August 10, 2013

When I picked up this hefty tome, a compendium of snippets from Franciscan Father Richard Rohr’s many writings (some of it previously unpublished), I expected a series of reflections in familiar groupings: personal faith, compassion, social justice, the natural world, grief — the standard mix that is often a blessing to preachers or educators who need a little help getting started on a selected topic or biblical passage.

No such luck. And for the most part that’s a good thing. What Rohr has given us instead is a collection of 366 meditations — one for every day of the year, including the leap year — to help us figure out what it means to wrestle with our Christian faith.

Rohr’s method is “to interpret Scripture the way that Jesus did.” This may sound arrogant — as it initially did to my Protestant ears. But in fact it is no different from the stance we take as social justice advocates when we argue that standing up for human rights or ecological justice is a way of living the relationship God has created with humanity and the Earth.

Indeed, Rohr is convincing when he argues that “Jesus consistently ignored or even denied exclusionary, punitive and triumphalist texts in His own Jewish Bible in favour of passages that emphasized inclusion, mercy and honesty.”

In his view, it is past time to do away with literal readings of the Bible, and it is time to read our Bibles within the contexts of both our own lives and our own political time. It is time to end theological eliteness and recognize instead that Jesus’ ministry, which we seek to emulate, was both humble and revolutionary. Such an approach brings us into a true liberation theology, for ourselves, our churches and our world.

Rohr shares his opinion on a range of topics, from justice issues such as the environment, distribution of wealth and consumer culture to more traditional Church concerns such as the place of Christmas or the communion of the saints. He addresses those personal issues, such as grief, or fear of change, for which many people come to books such as this.

While he does this in a thoughtful and challenging manner, the book itself lacks accessibility.

Rohr’s writings are arranged around seven themes (Methodology, Foundation, Frame, Ecumenical, Transformation, Process and Goals) which are deemed in the foreword to be “the fundamental issues that any serious Christian must engage in to develop a healthy and holistic world view.”

This reader finds no resonance on that front, but finds instead frustration in the lack of both a detailed table of contents or indices of topics and scriptural references.

Perhaps that is part of the intent of a work identified as being “meat for chewing, not warm milk to make you feel good.” But as a Christian who cares deeply for the Earth and all that is in it, I prefer to have some idea in advance of what I’m eating.

(Stratton is education and campaigns co-ordinator with KAIROS.)

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