Franciscan Richard Rohr to Both Lecture & Preach in Week of ‘Falling Upward’

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

It was Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM’s, idea to double up during his week at Chautauqua — to be the chaplain for Week Four and to speak at all of the interfaith lectures.

Rohr will preach at the 10:45 a.m. Sunday Ecumenical Service of Worship and Sermon in the Amphitheater. His sermon title will be “Something Larger than Jesus.” He will share his faith journey at the 5 p.m. Sunday Vespers in the Hall of Philosophy, and will preach at the 9:15 a.m. Ecumenical Worship weekdays in the Amp. His sermon titles will include “Everything Belongs,” “A Chinese Doll,” “Incorporating the Negative,” “Resolved from the Beginning,” and “Christ Is Not Jesus’ Last Name.” He will speak at 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday in the Hall of Philosophy.

“I had been inviting him for years, but his schedule would not permit,” said Maureen Rovegno, director of religion.

Rovegno said Rohr’s staff contacted the Institution last year and said Rohr was available this summer.

“I wanted him for the 2 p.m. interfaith lectures but he wanted to do both,” Rovegno said. “We have never done this before, because it is a lot of work. But his staff said that this is what he does all year long, and he wants to do it. Who am I to argue with him?”

Rohr is a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition.

The Perennial Tradition encompasses the recurring themes in all of the world’s religions and philosophies that continue to say: “There is a Divine Reality underneath and inherent in the world of things, there is in the human soul a natural capacity, similarity and longing for this Divine Reality, and the final goal of existence is union with this Divine Reality.”

Rohr is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. His teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy — practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized.

“We couldn’t cheat Chautauquans of this absolutely amazing opportunity,” Rovegno said. “No one is more uniquely (suited) to do this than Fr. Richard Rohr. It is a delight and a blessing.”

The author of numerous books, including Falling Upward, Everything Belongs, Adam’s Return, The Naked Now, Breathing Under Water, Immortal Diamond, Eager to Love: The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi, and, with Mike Morrell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation. His most recent book, which he also expects to be his last, is The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe.

In The Universal Christ is a simple concept: that Jesus Christ loves everyone and is in everything.

“This is not heresy, universalism, or a cheap version of Unitarianism,” Rohr wrote in The Universal Christ. “This is the Cosmic Christ, who always was, who became incarnate in time, and who is still being revealed.”

Rohr is academic dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation. Its mission is to produce compassionate and powerfully learned individuals who will work for positive change in the world based on awareness of common union with God and all beings.

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The author Mary Lee Talbot

Mary Lee Talbot writes the recap of the morning worship service. A life-long Chautauquan, she is a Presbyterian minister, author of Chautauqua’s Heart: 100 Years of Beauty and a history of the Chapel of the Good Shepherd. She edited The Streets Where We Live and Shalom Chautauqua. She lives in Chautauqua year-round with her Stabyhoun, Sammi.