Christ, Consciousness and Love

~Richard Rohr

You belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God.
1 Corinthians 3:22-23

We are all the Body of Christ, and even more so in our togetherness (1 Corinthians 12:12ff). Now that is quite Scriptural, in many sacred texts, but perhaps it just seems too good to be true for most Christians: “There is only Christ, he is everything and he is in everything” (Colossians 3:11). The ego resists such inclusivity, because the ego is that part of you which wants to be special, separate, and superior instead. The ego (“flesh” for Paul) resists any change, vulnerability, and union with anything else.

The Risen Christ is our icon of God’s universal presence, now unlimited by space or time. This is why the Resurrection stories always show Jesus’ body to be both here and there, passing through doors, visible and not visible, white light itself, everywhere and nowhere, as it were. He cannot be one object because he is in all objects (“panentheism”).

Even to Mary Magdalene he says, “Do not cling to me” (John 20:17). Why? Because you can’t! He is no longer bound by this one body. Christ is consciousness itself pervading all things—waiting and hoping for its inner yes!

[Adapted from The Cosmic Christ, CD, MP3]

The Crack in Everything

Leonard Cohen’s song, “Anthem,” states in the refrain: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.” It sounds a lot like Paul’s statement about carrying “the treasure in earthen vessels” (2 Corinthians 4:7). These are both much more poetic ways of naming what we unfortunately called “original sin”—a poor choice of words because the word sin implies fault and culpability, and that is precisely not the point! Original sin was trying to warn us that the flaw at the heart of all reality is nothing we did personally, but that there is simply “a crack in everything” and so we should not be surprised when it shows itself in us or in everything else. This has the power to keep us patient, humble, and less judgmental. (One wonders if this does not also make the point that poetry and music are a better way to teach spiritual things than mental concepts.)

The deep intuitions of most church doctrines are invariably profound and correct, but they are still expressed in mechanical and literal language that everybody adores, stumbles over, denies, or fights. Hold on for a while until you get to the real meaning, which is far more than the literal meaning! That allows you to creatively both understand and critique things—without becoming oppositional, hateful, arrogant, and bitter yourself. Some call this “appreciative inquiry” and it has an entirely different tone that does not invite or create “the equal and opposite reaction” of physics. The opposite of contemplation is not action; it is reaction. Much of the “inconsistent ethic of life,” in my opinion, is based on ideological reactions and groupthink, not humble discernment of how darkness hides and “how the light gets in” to almost everything. I hope I do not shock you, but it is really possible to have very “ugly morality” and sometimes rather “beautiful immorality.” Please think and pray about that.

[Adapted from Spiral of Violence: The World, the Flesh, and the Devil. CD, MP3]