I am looking forward to Richard Rohr’s book, The Universal Christ, due to be released in March. I have read several of Rohr’s books and last Spring I took a course on the internet based on his book, Immortal Diamond. Rohr has an understanding of Jesus that speaks to my heart.
For years I had trouble calling myself a Christian because I could not accept the Jesus as portrayed by some Christian groups. I couldn’t relate to him. This is the reason I wrote The Memorial of Jesus. I wanted to create a Jesus that would have captured my heart had I been able to walk with him. As I get feedback from people who have read my book it is his humanity that they most appreciate.
One line I recall from a description of Rohr’s new book is “Christ was not Jesus’ last name.” Rohr’s work has a universal appeal. While he claims that Jesus is his central reference point, he says that his life and community, the Center for Action and Contemplation’s Work, are guided by this principle: “We will support true authority, the ability to ‘author’ life in others, regardless of the group.” He goes on to explain that “truth simply shows up in various ages and cultures through different vocabulary and images. Throughout the world’s religions and philosophies, recurring themes point to humanity’s longing for union with Divine Reality. There are many paths to union.”
To say that there are more paths to God is not to diminish Jesus, at least not how Rohr teaches. I would say that the Christ in Jesus is the Christ in us all. It is nothing less than the Divine Spirit breathed into humankind at the beginning of creation. As the Quakers would say, it is “that of God” in each of us. That divine spark is not withheld from anyone and I believe that it is the role of religion to awaken believers to that divine spark that is already in them.