Passages from “The Naked Now”

the naked now

The Naked Now is Richard Rohr’s exploration of the mystical side of Christianity. Below are some brilliant quotes. Thanks to my friend John Fancher for compiling these:

  • Yes, the mind is brilliant, but the more we observe it, the more we realize it is also obsessive and repetitive
  • Yes, the mind can serve the world, but in fact it largely serves itself.
  • We still think of ourselves as mere humans trying desperately to become spiritual, when the Christian revelation was precisely that you are already spiritual and your difficult but necessary task is to learn how to become human.
  • (on insisting on one interpretation of scripture): This, even after Jesus so often … taught that the Ultimate Reality…is always LIKE something – clearly a simile or metaphor, inviting further experience and journey, not an idea with definitions that could be checked true or false on a student exam.
  • We forget that every time God forgives or shows mercy, God is breaking God’s own rules…Once you’ve known Grace, your tit-for-tat universe is forever undone: God is everywhere and always and scandalously found even in the failure of sin.
  • The Gospels never recorded Jesus having a single pre-requisite for any of his healings…except desire itself.
  • God’s love is so ingenious and victorious that I find God is willing to turn the whole world around to get me facing in the right direction.
  • If certitude, predictability and perfect order were so important, Jesus would have come in a time of digital recorders and cameras and he would have at least written his ideas down somewhere – and more clearly! He would have described his task as the establishing of archives instead of a sprawling banquet of rich food and wine…
  • If you fight dualistic thinkers directly, you are forced to become dualistic yourself. This is why, classically, Jesus sidesteps the two alternatives by telling a story, keeping silent, or sometimes presenting a third alternative that utterly reframes the false dilemma.
  • On the kingdom being NOW: How different this is from our later notion of salvation, which pushed the entire issue into the future and largely became a reward and punishment system.
  • We judgmentally look for the sin, error, or mistake in ourselves or others, not to consider its message for us, but to catch it, hate it, eliminate it, and often to project it elsewhere.
  • Scripture calls this subtle seeing (Wisdom) “she”, which in patriarchal culture is a way of saying “alternative”. Alan Watts says that the loss of paradoxical thinking is the great blindness of our civilization, which is what many of us believe happened when we repressed the feminine side of our lives as the inferior side. It was a loss of all subtlety, discrimination, and capacity for complementarity.
  • Jesus, as the icon of Christ Consciousness, is the very template of total paradox: human yet devine, physical yet spiritual, possessing a male body yet a female soul, killed yet alive…failure yet redeemer, marginalized yet central, singular yet everyone.
  • Unfortunately, faith became a matter of believing impossible or strange things (which was supposed to please God somehow), instead of an entrance way into a very different way of knowing altogether.

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