I’m sure I may have noticed a few little hidden smirks when I mentioned to my Bible Study group that I was going to do a book review of Father Richard Rohr’s “Falling Upward” for our website.
You see, my Bible Study group know all too well that Fr. Richard and I have a love/hate relationship. They had to listen to my rants when I didn’t understand him (he has a tendency to be a bit more pedantic than I felt necessary!). “Why didn’t he just say that?” was a frequent complaint of mine. But, since we have never met, maybe I should admit that love/hate relationship is pretty one-sided.
Father Rohr is a Franciscan priest living in New Mexico. He founded the Centre for Action and Contemplation in 1986 and serves as its Founding Director. He is the author of more than 20 books and an internationally known speaker. In researching him a bit, I found lots of glowing reviews!
Thus it was that I was quite impressed and excited to read this book - Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.
Very early on in the book, Fr. Rohr says this: “It takes a foundational trust to fall or to fail - and not fall apart. Faith alone holds you while you stand waiting and hoping and trusting.” I can relate to this as I recall my nine year old stepson telling me that if I would just let myself fall, I would learn to ski. Never happened. I just couldn’t let go and drop!
And through most of this book, I think I just kept refusing to accept that falling is a necessary part of growing up - mentally, physically and ultimately spiritually.
As I skim through the book to write this, I think I need a re-read with a more open mind because I know this book provided a lot of challenging thinking and discussion for our group (did I mention that I found him to be needlessly pedantic in places which annoyed me to no end?). 🙂
Briefly, Falling Upward is all about the different phases of growing up, of gaining wisdom in our everyday lives and growing spiritually as we add years. Much more detail than this, but I will let you discover that for yourself!
As much as you frustrated me Richard, you made me think - and think again.
-- by Gail MacGillivray
In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr―the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation―offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from time-honored myths, heroic poems, great thinkers, and sacred religious texts, the author explores the two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right. With rare insight, Rohr takes us on a journey to give us an understanding of how the heartbreaks, disappointments, and first loves of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half of life has in store for us.