A Sense of Entitlement – 5 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

by Mark Votava

9781616361570_p0_v1_s260x4201. Power is at its best in weakness

“I must be up front with you.  I do not really understand why God created the world this way.  I do not know why ‘power is at its best in weakness’ as Paul says, or ‘it is when I am weak that I am strong’ (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).  It sure seems like God is some kind of trickster.  Perhaps the Divine is playing games with us.  God seems to have hidden holiness and wholeness in a secret place where only the humble will find it.  Some topsy-turvy God has decided that those on the bottom will be revealed as the true top, and those who try for the top will find nothing of substance there.  Why such a disguise?  Why such a game of hide-and-seek?” 

2. The body never lies

“To keep our bodies less defended, to live in our body right now, to be present to others in a cellular way, is also the work of healing of past hurts and the many memories that seem to store themselves in the body.  The body seems to never stop offering its messages; but fortunately, the body never lies, even though the mind will deceive you constantly…”

3. Threat and punishment are the least effective forms of social change

“Studies now show that threat and punishment are the least effective forms of social change or long-lasting improvement…  One has to wonder, do we really want people to grow, or do we just want to be in control of the moment?…”

4. A sense of entitlement

“The death of any relationship with anybody is to have a sense of entitlement.  Any notion that ‘I deserve,’ ‘I am owed,’ ‘I have a right to,’ ‘I am higher than you’ absolutely undermines any notion of faith, hope, or love between the involved parties.  This is certainly why Jesus made one of his strongest statements found in all three Synoptic Gospels, and yet one of his most denied and ignored.  He says, ‘It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’ (Luke 18:25).  Jesus says that about no other group.  The mind of a rich person is invariably one of entitlement.  ‘I deserve this because I worked hard for this!’ we think.  Or, ‘I am owed this by reason of my station in life’…”  

5. Dualistic thinking

“Most practices of meditation and contemplation have to do with some concrete practices to recognize and to relativize the obsessive nature of the human mind.  The small mind cannot deal with Bigness and Newness, which God always is!  Even most addiction counselors recognize that many addicts are ‘all or nothing thinkers.’  I call this dualistic thinking, and is the normal labeling, rational mind that is good for things like science, math, and turning left or right.  But it is at a complete loss with the big five of God, death, suffering, love, and infinity.”

Which quotes are your favorite?