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The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe

By Richard Rohr. Convergent Books, 2019. 272 pages. $26/hardcover; $12.99/eBook.

Franciscan priest, teacher, and spiritual guide, Richard Rohr has newly written a book summarizing his lifelong love and practice of the way of Christ as he has come to understand it. Its title tells its purpose: The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope for, and Believe.

The book is a “people’s theology”: vivid, accessible ideas that flow into practice. Rohr invites us all to participate in and experience the reality that lives beneath the much used (and abused) term “Christ.” What is this reality?

I offer a sampling of provocative chapter headings:

  • “Christ is Not Jesus’s Last Name” (Jesus asks us not to worship him but to follow him into Christ, the universal Love that creates, integrates, and heals all life.)
  • “Original Goodness” (Christ creates us in original goodness, not original sin—that dark doctrine which the Church has taught but Jesus never did.)
  • “Why Did Jesus Die?” (The crucifixion revealed the real sin of scapegoating in both church and state, and a way beyond it.)
  • “The Resurrection Journey” (The resurrection is the process of growth and transformation, not just for Jesus but for ourselves and all life.)

The Universal Christ is a cornucopia of fresh teaching and insight into the healing way of Christ, for those of us who embrace it, or for those of us who may have rejected it but want another look. It is Rohr’s gift and invitation to us from his lived and ever‐growing experience of “the Christ Mystery.”

Ken Jacobsen and his wife, Katharine, until her death in 2017, served as teachers and co-directors in Quaker communities such as Olney Friends School and Pendle Hill. Ken has taught theology and healing at Chicago Theological Seminary and has led retreats on Jesus’s teachings at Friends Center in Barnesville, Ohio. He keeps his home in Wisconsin as a poustinia, a retreat house for spiritual travelers.

Posted in: Gambling, November 2019 Books, Quaker Book Reviews

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