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Franciscan priest Richard Rohr feels that there is no more challenging spiritual issue than the “problem of the self". Most of contemporary spiritual teaching, he believes, is still trying to inspire and fortify the private self, the autonomous "I". Even much church work is trying to evangelize and sacramentalize what many would call "the false self". Basic transformation is not expected, but merely a new set of beliefs and practices or loyal membership in a new group. This only confirms the disguise of the ego, but does not truly offer a "new creation". Both the individual and society remain largely unchanged.

Rohr suggests that until the false assumptions of Western individualism are clearly faced and experienced by religious believers (and they are the only ones fully prepared to face it), there will be no real breakthroughs for Christianity or any religion.

He makes reference to the work of Ken Wilber, Thomas Merton, Eckhart Tolle, the mystical tradition especially of Julian of Norwich, and the new paradigms offered by quantum physics. In a presentation that embraces the challenge, inspiration, and the genuine hope that is offered by the Gospel of Jesus, Rohr illustrates the implications of transformation both for individuals and for society at large.

©2003 Center for Action and Contemplation (P)2003 St. Anthony Messenger Press

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