Richard Rohr on Spiritual Captalism

The phrase “spirituality of subtraction” was inspired by Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327), the medieval Dominican mystic. He said that the spiritual life has much more to do with subtraction than it does with addition. Yet I think most Christians today are involved in great part in a spirituality of addition, and in that, they are not really very traditional or conservative at all.

The capitalist worldview is the only one most of us have ever known. We see reality, experiences, events, other people, and things—in fact, everything—as objects for our personal consumption. Even religion, Scripture, sacraments, worship services, and meritorious deeds become ways to advance ourselves—not necessarily ways to love God or neighbor.

The nature of the capitalist mind is that things (and often people!) are there for me. Finally, even God becomes an object for my consumption. Religion looks good on my resume, and anything deemed “spiritual” is a check on my private worthiness list. Some call it spiritual consumerism. It is not the Gospel.

Adapted from Radical Grace: Daily Meditations, p. 114, day 123
(Available through Franciscan Media)

Richard Rohr – Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction – 1 – Liberation theology for consumerists

Beginning with today I intend to publish a series of quotes from the audio lectures of Richard Rohr titled Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction, St. Anthony Messenger Press, 2005, Audible.

Here is how these lectures are presented on the Audible site:

In our culture, the “good life” means getting more. This series of retreat talks challenges listeners to subtract–to release whatever hinders us from siding with the cosmic Christ, whether that be in our inner world or our outer world. Father Rohr offers a daring vision which calls us to surrender, to liberation, to making room for real freedom.

These  are more or less exact quotes (I have transcribed these during some of my latest flights and I may have skipped a word here and there). The these I will add where necessary some of my own comments.

I hope you will find there as useful as I have found them. It is going to be a steep ride, so prepare for some surprises.

Here are the first two. Continue reading “Richard Rohr – Letting Go: A Spirituality of Subtraction – 1 – Liberation theology for consumerists”