Richard Rohr – A Case for the Necessity of Conversion

Conversion of St Paul

Michelangelo – Conversion of St Paul (detail)

Fr Rohr is sharing with us these days on his daily meditations a series of 57 reflections on the seven underlying themes of his teachings.

The meditation he sent to us today is one that may disconcert some people, both among those who idolise the text of the Bible and among those who view spirituality as something esoteric and disconnected from the life of God.

So, here it is. Warning: Bridle yourself for a rough ride.

* * *

The sacred texts of the Bible are filled with absolute breakthroughs, epiphanies, and manifestations of the highest level of encounter, conversion, transformation, and Spirit. The Bible also contains texts which are punitive, petty, tribal, and idiotic. A person can prove anything he or she wants from a single line of the Bible. To tell you the truth, the Bible says just about everything you might want to hear—somewhere! This is a sad and humiliating recognition. But you can relearn your way of reading Scripture in a prayerful, calm, skillful, and mature way. Then you can hear with head and heart and Spirit working as one, and not just a search for quick answers. Continue reading “Richard Rohr – A Case for the Necessity of Conversion”

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Fr. Richard Rohr – On the Way We Handle the Bible – Between Conversion and Penance

Thomas Merton said it was actually dangerous to put the scriptures in the hands of people whose inner self is not yet sufficiently awakened to encounter the Spirit, because they will try to use God for their own egocentric purposes (This is why religion is so subject to corruption!). Now, if we are going to talk about Lent being a time of conversion and penance, let me apply that to the two major groups that have occupied Western Christianity—Catholics and Protestants. Neither one has really let the Word of God guide their lives. Continue reading “Fr. Richard Rohr – On the Way We Handle the Bible – Between Conversion and Penance”

A Questionnaire on Conversion

I have just received from Dr. Anne-Marie Kool, from Karoly Gaspar University in Budapest, the request below.

I hope some of you might be interested to respond to this questionnaire. Please also point this to others whom, you think, might also be interested. Thanks a lot for your help. Continue reading “A Questionnaire on Conversion”

Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 4

Continue reading “Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 4”

Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 3

3. Centered sets:

Could it be that our problem with deciding whether Papayya is or is not a Christian has to do with the way we form our mental category “Christian”?

But there are other ways to form categories. A second way is to form centered sets. A centered set has the following characteristics:

a. It is created by defining a center, and the relationship of things to that center. Some things may be far from the center, but they are moving towards the center, therefore, they are part of the centered set. On the other hand, some objects may be near the center but are moving away from it, so they are not a part of the set. The set is made up of all objects moving towards the center.

Continue reading “Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 3”

Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 2

Conversion and category differences

What does it mean to be a Christian? Before we can answer this question we must look more closely at our own thought patterns—at what we mean by the word “Christian.” This word, like many other words, refers to a set of people or things that we think are alike in some manner or other. It refers to a category that exists in our minds. To be sure, God, looking at the hearts of people, knows who are his. It is he who one day will divide between the saved and the lost. But here on earth, we as humans pass judgments, we decide for ourselves who is a Christian, and, therefore, what it means to be a Christian. What criteria do we commonly use?

Before we answer this question, we must ask an even more fundamental question: what kind of category are we going to use? Modern studies of human thought (see bibliography) show us that our mind forms categories in at least three different ways, and each of the three kinds of categories has its own structural characteristics. For our discussion here we will look at two of these types: (1) bounded sets and (2) centered sets.[1]

Continue reading “Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 2”

Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 1

How much must Papayya ‘know’ about the Gospel to be converted?

by Paul G. Hiebert

Can an illiterate peasant become a Christian after hearing the Gospel only once? And, if so, what do we mean by conversion?

Imagine, for a moment, Papayya, an Indian peasant, returning to his village after a hard day’s work in the fields. His wife is still preparing the evening meal, so, to pass the time, he wanders over to the village square. There he notices a stranger surrounded by a few curiosity seekers. Tired and hungry, he sits down to hear what the man is saying. For an hour he listens to a message of a new God, and something which he hears moves him deeply. Later he asks the stranger about the New Way, and then, almost as if by impulse, he bows his head and prays to this God who is said to have appeared to humans in the form of Jesus. Continue reading “Conversion, Culture and Cognitive Categories – 1”