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AARP Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life [Kindle Edition]

Richard Rohr
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Franciscan priest Rohr (The Naked Now) is a big–picture kind of thinker when it comes to characterizing the human journey. Life has two halves; life follows the pattern of a hero/heroine′s journey; life is disorderly and inherently tragic. Elders and mystics are more inclined to such sweeping and subtle observations, and Rohr, born in 1943, fits in both categories. Rohr writes about spirituality in broad terms, but is deeply grounded in the writings and thinkers of his Catholic religious tradition. His discussion of familiar theological concerns––the necessity of suffering, the opportunities provided by mistakes––is fresh because imaginative and vigorous. His metaphors ("discharging your loyal soldier"), paradoxes (see the book′s title), and arguments are not, however, easy to follow or even easy to summarize. They will frustrate some readers, but delight others who are attentive enough to follow the connections Rohr makes. This small, provocative book will make a particularly good gift for a thoughtful, spiritually open man. (May) ( Publishers Weekly , April 11, 2011)

‘…prophetic, wise and clear!’  (, June 2011).


‘…prophetic, wise and clear!’  (, June 2011).

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 718 KB
  • Print Length: 245 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0470907754
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (12 Dec. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006PW2DHK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #410,015 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Did not live up to expectations 22 Jan. 2013
By babs4u
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was recommended this book by a friend who thought it may be helpful to me on my own spiritual journey.

Although it was of interest I found it heavy going in places and I did not entirely agree with some of the explanations.An example of this appears on page 135 under the heading Depression and Sadness, where it reads "Many depressed people are people who have never taken any risks, never moved outside their comfort zone, never faced necessary suffering, and so their unconscious knows they have never lived." I think this is a very blanket statement and one I strongly disagree with from my own experience of working with depressed and anxious clients.

However, I find with these type of books that it can be helpful to read a second or third time which I have not been able to do as yet. I think the value depends largely on where the reader is on their own journey and what the reader may be looking for.
It is a thought provoking book and contains a mix of scriture and philosophical quotes. It will not put me off frome reading other books by this author.
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Richard Rohr splits the spiritual journey of life into two, the ego-centric first half of life and the soul-centric second half of life. You do not need to be chronologically middle-aged to read this book, but he suggests that your thirties are as early as you will likely be ready for the move into the second half of life (although it can happen) and many people do not make the change until much later, if at all.

The book is very easy to read in terms of the tone and flow of the text, but despite its relatively short length, it took me quite some time as I really needed time to process the philosophical concepts and wisdom on offer.

This really is the most wonderful text for Christians and others seeking spiritual maturity. Having said that, I think that Christians will be best able to grasp some of his reflections, due to the frequent quotes of the Bible and references to the teachings of Jesus.

He sums up the reactions of readers very succinctly, "For some of you, my quoting Jesus is the only way you will trust me; for others, it gives you more reasons to mistrust me, but I have to take both risks. If I dared to present all of these ideas simply as my ideas, or because they match modern psychology or old mythology, I would be dishonest. Jesus for me always clinches the deal, and I sometimes wonder why I did not listen to him in the first place."

Having said that, there are quotes from all sorts of teachings and literature and he casts his net wide for inspiration. Examples range from Buddhism to AA, from Homer to Carl Jung.
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87 of 90 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gentle arguments to help your spiritual journey 10 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This has been a difficult review to write - because this is a book that can not be rushed. I often can finish a book at two sittings but this one got under the skin and has taken a while to read through to honestly comment on.

What we have is a series of paradoxes which Richard lets you ponder as he offers thoughts, some quite tangential and the need for personal change; to appreciate that true gain is spiritual not material. It is not written in a fervent evangelistic way whatsoever but in a quiet, almost unassuming amassing of idea after idea that created ripples of thought in my mind and made me think. The process could not be hurried.

It compares the two `halves' of life but note these are not to be seen as mathematical halves but life formation and then living it to the full. The example of Helen Keller mentioned on p 154 shows that the first `half' can be over fairly rapidly - if you let it.

There are quotes from myths, poets, psychiatrists and other thinkers as well as from the bible. There are no gimmicks, no hard sell. In fact that would be the very antithesis of Richard Rohr's approach which I found refreshingly understated. It is really all down to us, as individuals to make the changes, no simple solutions or magic formulae but a succession of gentle encouragements to take the risks. The Christian angle was subtle and draws on material from many contributors.

I would recommend it for those facing a crisis of confidence or even just at a point where they need to re-examine their priorities. Richard describes his journey as a Pilgrim's progress, though the shadows that re-enforce our personal self deceptions and the need to meet the problems of life in all its tragic senses: identity, life transitions, perfectionism, religion as against true belief, suffering and so on.

There is a useful index and brief notes together with a bibliography.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Relevant, in depth book 26 Aug. 2011
By Antonia Chitty VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
If you're approaching the second half of life and still wondering 'what's it all about?' try Richard Rohr's book, Falling Upward. It takes a serious and in depth look at how we move through our life journey, what we learn and do in the first half of life and the second half. In modern times, it can be all about what you have, the job, the car creating your identity. This book will help you look inside and see what you are beyond that. The book is not just about the person: Rohr makes some good points about society which he perceives as at an 'adolescent' stage of development. The book is based on Christian spirituality by Rohr takes in a broad set of references so worth reading for non Christians with questions about getting older and developing wisdom too.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent timely read.
Very satisfactory. The book is an excellent read about the second half of life. The book was delivered promptly , well protected and arrived in excellent condition. Thank you.
Published 6 days ago by Ruthelizabeth
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Quite interesting!
Published 10 days ago by Pat
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Another excellent book by Richard Rohr.
Published 12 days ago by G. Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 15 days ago by elaine h
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book of Two Halves
This is the first book I have read by Richard Rohr. Its sub-title 'A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life' reflects, for me at least, the nature of the book. Read more
Published 15 days ago by Ray V
1.0 out of 5 stars Too religious for me.
Altogether too vague/religious and dependent on interpretation/belief of bible quotations for my liking.
Published 16 days ago by Pete
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
A good read for members of my church book group.
Published 17 days ago by Ms. Cheryl Corney
4.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed that the book seemed much smaller
I was disappointed that the book seemed much smaller, the print too but the subject is great and I'm delighted to have obtained it...thank you
Published 22 days ago by PollyD
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential read
One of the most important books you will read. An extraordinary insight into the human condition, and our journey from self to other. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John G. Sturrock
5.0 out of 5 stars this was recommended to me because of something I said
this was recommended to me because of something I said. it spoke to me at many levels and I shall read it again and again for its affirmation of the journey that one goes on.
Published 2 months ago by Ms. Y. C. Austen
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