See http://www.catholicculture.org...view.cfm?recnum=6819 for an article by Rev. Bryce Sibley, STL and scroll down to "He was paying no debt."
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I've known and worked with a number of STL priests (aka Trinitarians) through the years, and they're generally on the progressive side of most issues, so it's kind of surprising to read this article by Fr. Sibley (whom I do not know, personally).
The piece is somewhat lengthy, and not always adequate in providing proper context for the teachings of Rohr, but there is one part of the article that I think deserves more discussion, which is the section on "He was paying no debt." There, we read the following:
I can empathize with Rohr and many others who are unhappy with the way the doctrine of substitionary atonement has been taught (hence, my book: Jesus on the Cross: WHY? from many years ago), but it does not follow that:
a. the redemption of the race is fully accomplished with the impregnation of Mary, nor
b. that the common teaching has been that crucifixion makes God love us (straw man fallacy), nor
c. that Incarnation makes bad flesh become good; the Jews already believed the body was good (straw man fallcy), nor
d. that substitionary atonement is the only theological explanation for the crucifixion.
For Rohr, it seems, Jesus' crucifixion is not really necessary, but is a supreme example of divine empathic love -- God identifying with the lowest and most alienated among us. That's certainly true, but the reflection of the Church from the first century onward saw much more going on than that. God is dealing with sin and evil through the crucifixion, and it's doubtful that the conception of Jesus alone (with, say, his death as a little child) could have accomplished what was done in the crucifixion.
What do you think about this?
No, the cross is a necessary part of redemption.
I was brought up with the punitive atonement theology and have no time for it now. Most of the language of the church regarding sin and redemption, I find outmoded and not helpful however.
I see Christ entering wholly into the collective suffering of mankind on the cross. This, in a sense, releases negative patterns and constrictions and opens a field of redemption, a higher frequency for man to inhabit collectively. For every soul, it embodies the transformation through death and resurrection archetype - God entering into that, empowering it and those individuals who go through it.
There are other aspects of the cross, perhaps regarding evil, but ideas of sin and guilt and forgiveness seem more relevant to traditions of Jewish law, perhaps to those locked into that mind state or cultural pattern, but generally irrelevant as the collective consciousness evolves.
That explanation makes a lot of sense to me. Wikipedia (where I get all my information from ) says that "substitutionary atonement" covers multiple models, none of which has a case strong enough to be universally convincing. I like your point about how easily we slip into interpreting the crucifixion through Jewish eyes, even though that may not be the only way to see it. The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it (Luke 16:16).
Yes, very good points, Stephen. I like what you're saying.
The New Testament offers several metaphors for understanding the meaning of the crucifixion. That juridical sustitionary atonement model is one, but it has been taken to another level in some branches of Protestantism. I suspect that's what Rohr is reacting to, but I think his reaction is just as bad.
I understand Incarnation to be more than the conception of Jesus in the womb of Mary, but the whole life of Jesus lived among us. Hence, it is all revelatory and redemptive, and filled with mysteries about which we only have the slimmest measure of understanding.
I think a lack of psychological insight can lead to unhealthy theology. One can see that developing from a primitive, tribal culture based on laws and ritual sacrifice.
As for RR, he does say some odd things at times, but I like him. Sometimes he seems to be pushing Catholic doctrine as far as it can go without actually breaking it, but always seems to back up what he says from his Franciscan tradition. I don't know enough about that to assess where he's coming from.
Franciscan alternative orthdoxy focusing on incarnation then redemption
https://cac.org/living-school/.../lineage-and-themes/This message has been edited. Last edited by: Mary Sue,
I don't know that he speaks for Franciscans, here. It is true that Duns Scotus emphasized God's plan to become incarnate even without a Fall, and that this is not considered heterodox. But it's also true that the human race was fallen and in need of healing and restoration to right relationship by God.
Rohr often uses straw man fallacies to make his points, like this one: Franciscans believe that Jesus did not come to change the mind of God about humanity. Maybe some fundamentalists believe this kind of thing, but it's not a Catholic belief. What he presents is a gross misinterpretation of 2 Cor. 5:19.
I'm not a specialist in Duns Scotus. But I've studied Franciscan mysticism for the last two years or so, and I must say that Rohr is just using the catchy idea of "alternative orthodoxy" to argue for his own heterodoxy. Franciscan spirituality and mysticism of 13 and 14 century was based entirely on the cross and the Passion, to such an extent, that Christmas was interpreted by Franciscans as a prefiguration of the Passion. Why do you think they depicted the Infant as naked, poor, in a stable with animals etc.? To emphasize the suffering of the Infant, whose Passion began already from birth. Franciscan Christmas had little to do with sweet little Baby Jesus from pop-culture Christmas.
The greatest Franciscan mystic of the 13/14 century and maybe ever was Angela of Foligno, canonized by Pope Francis in 2013. In her writings the idea of atonement, redemption, of Christ taking on himself the punishment which should be ours in order to save us from this punishment etc. appears all the time. Here a passage from St. Angela, clearly showing the atonement interpretation of incarnation:
"The soul seeing that poverty caused its fall, and seeing that Jesus, God and man, raised it up by the opposite poverty; seeing that it incurred eternal sufferings, and seeing that Jesus, God and man, wanted to suffer continually and almost infinitely to deliver it from these sufferings; seeing that it had fallen into a state of contempt and derision away from the supreme and totally ineffable deity; and seeing that Jesus Christ, God and man, wished to be despised, ill-treated, and to appear to all in such an extreme state of derision for the very purpose of removing it from this state of derision - the soul is transformed into the immense suffering of Jesus, God and man. All this was perfectly realized in the person of our father, blessed Francis." (St. Angela of Foligno, Complete Works, p. 243)
Of course, his picture of what supposedly the Catholics believe about atonement (Jesus coming and saying to God: "Please, Father, don't be so angry, kill me instead of them!") is a repulsive caricature and I haven't met anyone who would believe this kindergarden interpretation of atonement.
Generally, Rohr does not seem to have a sound theological education. For instance, he says: "Atonement implies that God had a plan, we messed it up, and then God had to come back in to mop-up our mistakes." Please! No pre-modern Catholic theologian would believe such a nonsense, simply because God is simple and eternal, and he does not change. God cannot "change his plan" in any case, atonement or not. Rohr suggests that some theologians claim that God FIRST (in time) made up this wonderful plan, THEN (in time) people sinned, and THEN (in time) God decided to do something about it.
This is not alternative orthodoxy. This is bad theology, or non-dual ideology trying to squeeze Christianity in itself.
Thanks for your post, Mt., which expresses some of my own discomfort and disagreements with how Rohr phrases things at times.
Fr. Rohr is live streaming morning prayers and meditation this morning, Thursday, November 2, at 8:30 a.m. Mountain Time: https://www.facebook.com/Cente...tionandContemplation
Well that was very nice. There were about 15 people in the room, and they got about another 300 people joining them for live streaming on Facebook. Next one is Tuesday, November 7, at 8:30 a.m. Mountain Time. I believe that will be the last of the current series.
"What do you think about this?" Quote from first topic post.
Humm? First of all I am not Catholic, but I do have a fondness for the Catholic Church. Second I have been a Christian mystic for sixty-three years. And I have spent a lot of time over the years in contemplative prayer pondering the questions that this topic brings up.
The first thing that one might take into consideration is that God can not be understood. "I am that I am." Because most of us as human beings have a need to or a tendency to understand things in a "set pattern" way we as individual human beings have a tendency to define "God". To give God qualities that we as individuals can understand. And we as individuals use these qualities to define and understand our approach to and our relationship with God. From there we end up with, "God is this and that God has to be this or that."
Can you worship a God that can not be defined or understood? A whatever it is that "Just Is". No you can't . And then as Christians we have this God entering into our human reality as one of us and interacting with us. And doing this with these words, "If you can't believe what I say, then believe My works." The death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, our Christ Jesus was one of those works. From there we now as Humans actually have something that we can define and qualify (or at least try to ), a foundation for a set pattern reality so to speak, that also proves the possible existence of God. A God that this incarnation of God called, "My Father that is in Heaven."
"Did our Christ Jesus die for our sins?" Back in those days when our Christ Jesus walked on this earth it was believed that one could perform a "living sacrifice" to get favors from God. And apparently, if one believes the Christian Scriptures, God became flesh and and then, after visiting a while, offered Himself up to be sacrificed to Himself so that those that believe in Him can get favors from Him. His sacrifice was performed and He became the "last living sacrifice" needed to get favors from Him. "If you guys need to sacrifice living things to get favors from me, then here sacrifice Me."
What are my thoughts on this? We as Christians have been given a gift that is beyond comprehension. The whole thing just brings tears to my eyes.
A virtual prayer room! What a great idea. Thanks for the info, Derek.
Thanks for your reflections, Tucker. What Christianity teaches about God is what you say, that God (as God is in Godself) cannot be understood or grasped by the human mind. But we also say that God has revealed Godself to us through the creation, human history, and especially in the person of Jesus. That's the whole point of the Incarnation: for God to communicate with us using a means we can understand -- another person. And what Jesus teaches about God pertains more to the character of God than the Essence of God, though he does say that God is spirit. From Jesus, we learn that God is relational, loving, forgiving, concerned with human history, etc.
Re. the crucifixion, there are many levels of meaning, only one of which is fulfilling the Jewish history of sacrifice. Many books have been written on this, and, yes, I have written one as well -- Jesus on the Cross: WHY?.
My favorite explanation is one about intimacy -- that with the crucifixion, Jesus demonstrates that God's love stands in solidarity with the lowest, most rejected in human society. Wherever Jesus is, the love of God flows, and follows him into the realm of death, where (because he has died) he preaches the Gospel to all those who had died, opening a new dimension of life with God that we call heaven. He rises from the dead, demonstrating God's power over sin and death and giving us a peek at our own future destiny. So there's a lot going on, here, including other interesting ways of understanding the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. I think we're still coming to deeper understandings.
People were very appreciative in the comments section (even posting during the silent time, LOL). But I think this is just a special event to celebrate 30 years of Fr. Rohr's center. Unless getting 300 people sways their thinking, next Tuesday's will be the last one.
A few more virtual prayer rooms I have discovered:
World Community for Christian Meditation Online Meditation Room
World Community for Christian Meditation Online Groups
IHOP Kansas City Prayer Room
http://www.ihopkc.org/prayerroom/This message has been edited. Last edited by: Derek,
Phil your post would get a "like" from me ! "The Intimacy" (I love that Phrase it says things perfectly) was going through my mind as I was writing my post. Human beings need a "set pattern" understanding of things and Lord Jesus was that "set pattern" gift. He was evidence that the God of Abraham was real. And He created the reality where with only His name you could interact directly with the "Just Is". I first approached God through prayer when I was five years old, almost six, using the name Jesus Christ. And from that first experience on I was a mystic for the rest of my life. All I had was The Name. I didn't know anything about God, about Lord Jesus, about Christianity or the rules of Christianity, I didn't know anything about religion period. All I had was to go to God in the name of Jesus Christ and God will take away my fear of the dark. From the experience of that first prayer all I knew was that I wanted to know and become closer to the whatever this was that was called God because I had met Him personally and was impressed. And the only tool that I had to do this with was a name that worked.
Later on I became very close to Lord Jesus and at odds with God, but in my younger days, and at various other times through out my life, I was very close to God. During my years of trials and tribulations Lord Jesus was the rock in my life and He was my Master and guide through mystic experiences that I went through and explored. And it all started with a name before I knew anything else.
"There is a lot going on here, including other interesting ways of understanding the meaning of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection." Phil that should be a topic or is it a topic some place? Christianity as a rule is very set pattern when it comes to understanding the meaning of the crucifixion and the resurrection, exploring other interesting ways of understanding would be an interesting exploration.
Yes, Tucker, the Name of Jesus is a gift to us -- a summons to God, for sure.
If you've been exposed primarily to evangelical and fundamentalist Christianity, they usually do use only one explanation for the meaning of the crucifixion: substitutionary atonement. Catholics recognize this, too, along with some of the other considerations I've mentioned above.
Here's a link to my book on the meaning of the crucifixion. I'll make the pdf available for free for a couple of weeks for you and anyone else who stumbles into this discussion. Enjoy!
(If you get a password prompt, just Cancel or dismiss.)
Thank you Phil, but I feel bad about reading without paying for it. So what is the name of the book and I will order both your new book and this one at the same time? Right now I am waiting to put some money in my account.
And you are right I have mostly dealt with fundamentalist and evangelical Christians during my life even though I have never actually belonged to a fundamentalist or evangelical church except in my early teen years because it was the only church where we lived. I was baptized in the Lutheran church and belonged to it for a while, then I joined a First Christian Church which is an independent church and I was baptized in it (full immersion). I went to it for a while until its pastor left. The church that I liked the best was the Seventh Day Adventist. I have visited the Catholic Church as a guest a few times. I love the feeling that God is present that you get when you go to a Catholic church . I have visited a lot of fundamentalist and evangelical churches and I could not get along with their approach to things at all. I had the same problem with the Jehovah Witnesses when I went to their meetings for a while. I would go to a church now that both my wife and I are retired but my ability to walk is not predicable anymore. Which is actually why I do not go anywhere anymore . But yes Phil, I have a problem with fundamentalist and evangelical type folks even though I do consider anybody that has been baptized to be in the hands of Jesus and not for me to judge in spite of my inclination to do that .
As a mystic I am now approaching God the Father as a "Just Is" and not attempting to understand Him at all and that is working out quite nicely. Being indwelt by the "Just Is" through Lord Jesus is turning out to be an interesting experience. Amazing things seem to happen with there being no need to understand. This is something new to me.
"With Jesus’ sacrificial death and resurrection, humanity has entered into a new covenant with
God. If one needs any favors from God, one need only appeal to Jesus, who is seated at the right
hand of the Father, where he constantly makes intercession for us as the high priest par
excellence (Heb 7:26-8:6)."
Phil I took a sneak peek at your book and it is awesome
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