Customer Review

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking book, highly recommended, 4 July 2011
This review is from: Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Hardcover)
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There was much in this book with which I identified. Richard Rohr is an American Catholic priest, a Franciscan, who founded the "Center for Action and Contemplation" in New Mexico. His basic thesis here is that we have two halves of life, not in the sense of chronological ageing but in the sense of spiritual maturity, and many people never reach the second half. In the first half, he says, we build a "container", or identity, when we are concerned with our position and reputation in the world, and when we need rules and regulations by which to live. In the second half, when hopefully we have learned through failure and maybe suffering, we find the contents which the container is meant to hold. Old people who have reached this stage are not just "elderly" but "elders", whom others can recognise as a fount of wisdom. In 167 pages, plus a long introduction, Rohr elaborates on this with plentiful scriptural and poetic references. He points out that the "first half of life" mentality finds its way into the political world, especially with the trend in much of the West to have young leaders in their forties.

He has a reputation, I understand, as being somewhat critical of the institutional Church. An example here, on page 139, is "The Catholic Church is now expending huge amounts of effort and time changing words in the liturgy back to the "original Latin" (which Jesus never spoke and was actually the language of his oppressors), while the world is facing unparalleled disasters at every level". To which I would add the imminent changes in the English translation of the Mass, imposed by the Vatican against the wishes of the English bishops.

Be that as it may, this is a very thought-provoking book which I would recommend, and not just to churchgoers.
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