Learning To Be Honest – 9 quotes from Richard Rohr’s book – A Lever and a Place to Stand: The Contemplative Stance, the Active Prayer

by Mark Votava

1. Action and contemplation the greatest art form

“I dare call action and contemplation the greatest art form because I believe that it is. It underlies all those other, more visible art forms that we see in great sculpture, music, writing, and painting, and, most especially, in the art form called human character. When these two are one, we always have beauty, symmetry, and transformative form – lives and actions that inherently sparkle and heal, even with dark images.”

2. Quiet contemplative eyes

“God offers us quiet contemplative eyes, but God also calls us to prophetic and critical involvement in the pain and suffering of our world – at the same time…”

3. Air, breath, wind, and spirit

“Air, breath, wind, and spirit are always beyond us, yet totally around us, within us, and beyond us, and we share in it equally. It is the same air that we all breathe, and yet each of us receives it intimately. No one controls it! It is the utter democratization of religion and offers equal access to the Divine. There is no African or American way to breath. Hindus and Christians breath the same air.”

4. An inner life of mediation and contemplation10869302 (1)

“I believe that an inner life of meditation or contemplation is made to order to grease the wheels that move us along the path to Wisdom. Without it, we will always stall at mere Law or mere criticism.”  

5. Becoming healers in our world

“Could meditation/contemplation be the very thing that has the power to both democratize and mature Christianity? It alone does not demand major education, does not need a hierarchy of decision makers, does not need to argue about gender issues in leadership or liturgy, does not need licensed officials for sacraments, does not need preachers and bishops, does not have moralistic membership requirement. It just lives and thrives with dedicated pray-ers who have every chance of becoming healers in their worlds, each according to his or her gifts…”

6. Ask questions

“I think we need to ask questions rather than to have answers…”

7. What makes people so unkind to one another?

“Perhaps like me, you feel that the longer you live, the more you are forced to ask the question, ‘What makes people so unkind to one another?’ What creates mean-spirited people who want to hurt you or others in even subtle ways? Sometimes the more petty and unnecessary it is, the more astounding it is. Where does this come from? Why is it much easier for humans to wrap themselves around problems, negativity, and blaming than around joy? It is so strange…”  

8. Refusing to project our anxieties elsewhere

“Meditation is refusing to project our anxieties elsewhere, and learning to hold and face them within myself and within God…”

9. Learn how to be honest

“It never entered our minds that a Christian was supposed to call the systems of this world into question. We were supposed to be nice. But you know what? The word nice is not found in the whole New Testament. The Gospel is not about being nice; it is about being honest and just, and the world doesn’t like those two things very much. Our job is to learn how to be honest, but with love and respect.”

Which quote do you like the best?

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