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Fr. Richard Rohr to Wrap Up Lecture Series with Insights on One’s ‘Second Half of Life’

Richard Rohr, author of “The Divine Dance.”. Photo courtesy of Whitaker House

“Your identity is hidden with Christ in God,” wrote Paul the Apostle in Colossians 3:3.

That identity — shrouded from view though it may be — forms the basis for the lifelong search for personal truth that happens so often in 21st century Western culture, according to Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM.

“You don’t have anything to do with (your identity),” said Rohr, a spiritual writer, Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. “It was given to you in an unconditional, beloved way in the moment of your creation. And when you rest in that as your identity, you don’t have to be on the stage to feel important.”

At 2 p.m. today, July 18, in the Hall of Philosophy, Rohr will share insights into growing through “The Second Half of Life.” Rohr’s final Week Four lecture is part of the interfaith theme, “Falling Upward: A Week with Richard Rohr.”

“If religion doesn’t tell us we’re all created in the image of God, I don’t think it’s doing its job,” Rohr said. “It creates just a different kind of violence, a different kind of hatred, a different kind of righteousness.”

Rohr’s interfaith lectures for this week are based on his 2011 book, Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life.

And a crucial part of finding self-identity during the two halves of life, according to Rohr, is being accustomed to failure.

In Falling Upward, Rohr wrote that the majority of the workforce and student body in 21st-century America seems to have “been coddled, been given ‘I Am Special’ buttons for doing nothing special, and had all his or her bills paid by others.” 

Rohr said he’s “glad he wrote that passage,” and that its truth is “so obvious” to him.

“It is a generalization,” he said, “but it’s still a truth that’s worth hearing. I met a lot of (hardworking young people) here this (Sunday) morning. But they’re not the ones who fill the stadiums and jazz bars, where it’s just all about entertainment.”

However, Rohr wanted to make it clear that he’s certainly “not against jazz bars.”

“When entertaining yourself every day of the week is the meaning of your life, you’re never going to be ready for when the big issues come,” he said. “And they will come.”

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The author Chris Clements

Chris Clements is reporting on the interfaith lecture previews and Sacred Song Services. He is in his second year at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix. This is his first summer at the Daily. When he’s not rereading White Noise by Don DeLillo, he’s listening to his favorite jazz vocalist, Cécile McLorin Salvant.