Falling Upward: A Review of Richard Rohr’s New Book

Google Books
In his new book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life, Richard Rohr catches the wave of interest in spirituality in the second half of life by offering a template for the progression of life stages, using Jungian insights, illustrating the arc of the journey, referencing The Odyssey,and connecting those sources with the teaching of Jesus in the gospels, understood through the lenses he has chosen to use.  Rohr is a writer with wide appeal across Christian traditions and beyond. His life-long calling as a Franciscan educator is served well by the joy and skill he exhibits in framing a paradigm for the spiritual life, and then developing it.
The image that he uses is that the psycho-spiritual task of the first half of life is to create a container for our life, acting on one chore of self-definition after another by embarking on a quest for self-knowledge, definition and location in the wider world. The tasks that need to be accomplished are the ones to which he has given much attention in his writings for the spiritual life for men, following the trail of Odysseus. He offers the critique, not only of individuals, but 21st century North-American culture, when he observes that as a society, we seem to be seeking to accomplish those first-half tasks, but then are unaware that there is a next set of tasks have to do with what we carry in the container of our lives, both personal and communal. It is the task of the second half of life to create or receive the content that we bear in our lives, the spiritual aspect, and for Rohr it is in this task of incarnating spiritual content that we most faithfully live the words and life of Jesus Christ. Source

Interesting Film
Jesus & Buddha: 
Practicing Across Traditions

Three leading figures in today’s Buddhist-Christian dialogue share their personal journeys in the new documentary "Jesus and Buddha: Practicing Across Traditions."

We learn how following the path of the Buddha has informed and deepened their understanding of who Jesus was and what he taught. Their experience and insight bring these two liberating archetypes alive in a way that can help guide us through our own confusion and struggle toward lives filled with joy and gratitude, compassion, and service.

The film features: Father Robert Kennedy, a Jesuit priest and Zen teacher; Chung Hyun Kyung, Professor of Ecumenical Theology and Interfaith Engagement at Union Theological Seminary and a Buddhist Dharma teacher; and Paul Knitter, Professor of Theology, World Religions and Culture at Union Theological Seminary.

During the course of the film, we see that the struggles and anxieties that motivate them are our own. What’s more, their reflections throw the light back on us. We can see better the prison of our ceaseless preoccupations, our obsessions, our animosities. Perhaps our own notions of the spiritual path have been limited by our need for answers and our desire for comfort. In the end it becomes clear from these witnesses that this is not a journey that depends on concepts and abstractions—and definitive answers are beyond our grasp. The journey is rather one of practice and insight.

The path these travelers point us to is infinitely spacious and ultimately fulfilling—it can hold all of the contradictions and the questions as it leads further and deeper into the 'incomprehensible mystery' that is this life. Maybe we don’t need to enter a monastery or go to the desert, but some form of discipline may be necessary if we are to move beyond the self as the center of identity and into the liberating vastness of the 'Buddha-field' or the nourishing wholeness of the 'Christ-reality.'

See Film: Jesus & Buddha / Practicing Across Traditions