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#3961 - Friday, July 23, 2010 - Editor: Jerry Katz

The Nonduality Highlights -

"[Contemplative life] holds the key -- 'nondualistic thinking' -- to the next level of Christian existence." -Richard Rohr

In the last few years there have emerged small but sturdy branches of nondual Judaism (especially as founded by Jay Michaelson) and nondual Christianity. The latter, especially as founded by Richard Rohr, is presented in today's issue. Michaelson and Rohr have been seen in the Highlights before.

Nonduality and Christianity

Excerpts from an article published today in the National Catholic Reporter

“I hope whatever emerging Christianity is,” said Franciscan Fr. Richard Rohr, a featured speaker at the [“Emerging Christianity: How We Get there Determines Where We Arrive”] conference, “it’s going to be much more practice-based than doctrine-based. Where has this obsession with believing correct doctrines gotten us? The Roman church is right back into it, although maybe that’s why God is humiliating us, to say: ‘This obsession with being right and having the whole truth, look where it’s gotten you, Roman church,’ ” he said in a not-so-thinly veiled reference to the then-breaking story that the shadow of the clergy sex abuse scandal had darkened the door of the papal palace. “It might well be in the great scheme of God’s grace the only way to bring us to humility, to balancing all of our absolutely certain knowing with a necessary unknowing.”


Whether a relative handful of people meeting in the New Mexico desert (some 570 people from 45 U.S. states and five other countries) can be considered a measure of new things emerging, only time will tell. Numbers aside, the discussion was broad enough to cross a range of denominational borders and ideological presumptions, and it wasn’t about easy fixes or the simple overthrow of dogma and traditional practice. In fact, in some instances, the case was quite the opposite.

If Rohr, for Catholics, embodies in many ways whatever is left of the renewal impulses of the Second Vatican Council, he also is a leading advocate today of contemplative life, the ancient discipline that has found a resurgence in some unlikely places.

It is an aspect of Christianity that Rohr thinks has been shortchanged in the church over the centuries. He also believes it holds the key -- “nondualistic thinking” -- to the next level of Christian existence. That level, he said, will be one that goes beyond the mind, beyond rationality, beyond ego. “The mind,” he said, “is never going to get us to a great church. It will always create some moral and doctrinal distinctions because that’s the way the ego operates. The ego prefers the dualistic mind.” In contrast, he said, “the soul prefers to embrace things, not to name things. It is what it is without a name. It is what it is as it is. The soul has a different set of eyes, and my assumption is that the soul sees with contemplative eyes. It sees things without needing to label them up or down.”


[Conference speaker Shane Claiborne says]“One of those I would say is that we have a movement in the church that is trying to connect orthodoxy and orthopraxis. We’re not throwing out the things that we believe, but we’re trying to also have practices that work those things out. What has happened in the past few decades is that our Christianity has just been about what we believe, as if our Christianity was just a doctrinal statement. But in Jesus you don’t see a presentation of ideas. You see an invitation to join a movement and the actions of that movement.”

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