Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

everything belongsI’ve only ever read Fr. Richard Rohr’s work in audiobook format, but honestly, I need to be buying his books in print so I can underline and put sticky notes everywhere. In Everything Belongs, he explores the radical freedom that comes through believing “that we have no real access to who we really are except in God.”

Rohr discusses how civil religion and cultural Christianity miss a sense of the whole. They’re perfunctory. “The great commandment is not ‘thou shall be right,’ it is ‘be in love.'” When he reminds us that God receives all, he means literally all. Our ego is constantly comparing and dividing. It’s responsible for our dualistic thinking. Our true self—our soul—gives space for all.

I found his thoughts on avoiding groupthink and getting caught up in religious dogma especially inspiring and hopeful. The way our own group experiences and knows God is not the only way to experience and know God, and believing that it is is idolatry. He warns against playing the power, control, and domination game, no matter what “side” we’re on. He reminds us that our egos will find new ways to be right and moral and superior, so we must stay mindful about that.

Activists need to be careful not to become power-seeking and dominating, or they become part of the problem and the movement self-destructs. This section perfectly complements another book I’ve been slowly savoring, Joyful Militancy by carla bergman and Nick Montgomery, which is written from an anarchist perspective. Rohr says a transformation of souls must occur in order for a revolution to happen, and the desire to control others must be exorcised.

He also brings up the follow point: “Individualism makes church almost impossible. It makes community almost impossible. It makes compassion almost impossible.” Especially when thinking about the way people have responded to the pandemic, I think we can all say we’ve seen how destructive individualism can be.

These are just some of my favorite aspects of this book, but it’s hard to express them briefly enough for review purposes. Rohr’s explanations in the book are very deep and thoughtful, and he ties all his points together in profound ways. Everything Belongs is perfect for anyone who believes, as Rohr puts it: “We need less reformation and more transformation.”

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