40 Practices and Reflections on the Universal Christ
Review posted January 9, 2022.
Convergent Books (Penguin Random House), 2021. 220 pages.
Review written October 23, 2021, from my own copy purchased via Amazon.com
2021 Sonderbooks Standout:
I was going to say that Every Thing Is Sacred is a study guide to the wonderful book by Richard Rohr, The Universal Christ -- but it’s really more of a contemplation guide. There are forty “Reflections” on passages from the earlier book, with “Reflective Exercises” at the end of each Reflection. So it’s a guide to going deeper with the ideas from that book.
Yes, you’ll want to read The Universal Christ before or alongside this book. I am planning to reread both books together.
It’s a little misleading that Richard Rohr’s name is listed first as the main author, because Patrick Boland is the author of the Reflections. But that’s done because all the Reflections springboard from Richard Rohr’s writings.
I recommend beginning with the book The Universal Christ. Then, if you want to go deeper – and I think most people will – “Every Thing Is Sacred” can help you with that.
I also recommend getting a journal for it and doing the Reflective Exercises. Here I have to admit that I didn’t do many of them. I started out at the beginning, but then settled for reading each piece and thinking about it a little bit. This is why I do want to tackle the book again, and I think I’ll get more out of it.
Here’s a section from the Introduction by Richard Rohr, describing what you may get out of the book:
This is incarnational Christianity! Not God reserved for a few but God available to all in a thousand, thousand visible forms, and celebrated, over and over. Not just a problem-solving forgiver-of-sins God but a God whose greatness made sin by comparison unattractive, undesirable, small, and stifling. Once God models poured-out oneness for us, we are on some level allured into doing the same. Growth by “attraction, not promotion,” as the twelve-step program might say. Not so much a Christ coming into the world as coming out of a world that is already soaked with Presence.
And that is what both Patrick and I want you to experience for yourself in this little book. Not just warm thoughts but an entire earth and humanity warmed by the Word becoming flesh. This is a message you cannot know with your mind alone. You must come to know it in the very cells of your body – and see it in the cells of all bodies, which each carry the same divine DNA of their Creator. Think about it. How could they not be?
This book is neither pious nor academic but is filled with spiritual knowing waiting to be transferred to you if you have the right app (if you will allow me to use a mobile device metaphor). The app requires only two functions on your part – curiosity and a bit of love. Yet this book is not a workbook either because it is hardly work at all, nor does it ask for grinding concentration. We might just call it A Guide to Christian Freedom and Fun! (But in a Quite Serious Way). Why not?