Richard Rohr Meditation: The Story that Defines Us

There are several levels of knowing and interpreting reality—a “hierarchy of truths,” as Pope Francis calls it. [1] Not all truths are of equal importance, which does not mean the lesser ones are untrue. So don’t fight useless battles against them. Something might be true, for example, on a psychological, historical, or mythological level, but not on a universal level. Fundamentalists think the historical level is the “truest” one, yet in many ways literalism is the least important meaning for the soul. Facts may be fascinating, but they seldom change our lives at any deep level. I do believe the “historical-critical” method of interpreting Scripture is a helpful frame [2], without which fundamentalists create a fantasy that looks a lot like their own culture and preferred class perspective.

Scholars since Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) have been making good use of a distinction between logos, or problem-solving language, and mythos. Logos language includes facts, data, evidence, and precise descriptions. Rob Bell describes how “logos language and thinking got us medicine, got us airplanes. . . . For the past three hundred years we have had an explosion of logos language. . . . But the problem is, there are whole dimensions of our existence that require a different way of thinking.”

Bell rightly says, “The Bible is mostly written in mythos language. . . . Good religion traffics in mythos. . . . Mythos language is for that which is more than literally true. . . . Evolutionary science does an excellent job of explaining why I don’t have a tail. It just doesn’t do so well explaining why I find that interesting!” [3] We need mythos language to express the more-than-factual meaning of experiences like falling in love, grief, and death.

Good religion, art, poetry, and myth point us to the deeper levels of truth that logos can’t fully explain. Early Christians knew this; but the Western Church spent the last five centuries trying to prove that the stories in the Bible really happened just as they are described. For some Christians, it’s imperative that the world was created in six literal days, otherwise their entire belief system falls apart. Christianity came to rely heavily on technique, formula, and certitude instead of the more alluring power of story, myth, and narrative.

The whole point of Scripture is the transformation of the soul. But when we stopped understanding myth, we stopped understanding how to read and learn from sacred story or Scripture. Children delight in hearing the same fantastical stories over and over again because they are open to awe, mystery, and discovery. Oh that we could all read the creation story with similar childlike wonder and open-heartedness!

Richard Rohr: The Cosmic Christ: The Blueprint

Let’s begin in the beginning with the prologue to John’s Gospel (John 1:1-11). Older Catholics may remember that this was recited in Latin at the end of every mass prior to Vatican II. This prologue is not talking about Jesus; it’s talking about Christ. I’m going to give you, as I often do, my own translation, but I think a fair one. Instead of “Word,” which is taken from Greek philosophy’sLogos, I’m going to substitute the word “Blueprint,” because it’s really the same meaning. Logos is the inner blueprint.

In the beginning was the Blueprint, and the Blueprint was with God, and the Blueprint was God. . . . And all things came to be through this inner plan. The inner reality of God was about to become manifest in the outer world as the Cosmic Christ.

Mature Spirituality

The primary result of mature religion is to help us grow up early so we don’t keep going down the same dead ends and making the same mistakes over and over again—“doing the same thing and expecting different results,”

.. This ultimate reality, the way things work, is quite simply described as love. Religion is supposed to teach us the way of love.

.. Philosophically, you will never discover the Logos, the blueprint, the pattern,

The Medium is the Messiah: McLuhan’s Religion and its Relationship to His Media Theory

Marshall didn’t publicly discuss his religion. His theory was that people who can see don’t walk around saying, “I’m seeing things” all day. They simply see the world. And so, with religion, it was simply there with him. (61-62)

.. there is a great contrast between perceptual and conceptual confrontation; and I think that the “death of Christianity” or the ”death of God” occurs the moment they become concept. As long as they remain percept, directly involving the perceiver, they are alive. (ML 81)

.. Finally, McLuhan also made clear that the academics were the modern Scribes and Pharisees, and that these were unable to perceive anything as a result of their concepts.

.. Understanding Media(1964), is ultimately a warning against the idolatry of technology, in which he invokes both William Blake and Psalm 115 to tell us that “we become what we behold.”

McLuhan also believed that the tetrad analysis revealed in Laws of Media could only be done on man-made objects, not on spider webs or natural processes. This conviction led him to claim that tetrad analyses could not be performed on the Sacraments of the church, but only on its heresies, offering another inverted proof of the Sacrament’s divine origin. So concerned with the Logos or word was Laws of Media that it precedes the tetrad examples chapter with this final reminder

In Jesus Christ, there is no distance or separation between the medium and the message: it is the one case where we can say that the medium and the message are fully one and the same. (ML 103)