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Richard Rohr's The Wisdom Pattern
I was part of a discussion group this morning of like-minded people discussing the “power of forgiveness” in Richard Rohr’s book: The Wisdom Pattern. There seems to be a distinct difference in how each of Abraham’s religions handle sin, guilt, and forgiveness. I’ve always thought the Catholic idea of confession, penance, forgiveness to be a positive process. Announcing to another your faults and worries seems to me to help alleviate the practice of carrying guilt to its unhealthy conclusion—anxiety.
Rohr writes that “the bad side of reality as an analogy for God was that Catholicism tended to get pretty slack. God was almost too chummy and forgiving. Our Protestant brothers and sisters rightly challenged us on that” (160). He goes on to argue that 2/3 of the year, Catholics in Italy celebrated feast days and holidays with plenty of wine and partying. He notes that “the Catholic comfort with drinking is still scandalous to many of our Protestant brothers and sisters” buy even worse are the Catholic countries that are “notorious for tolerating dictators, political corruption, bribes, greedy upper classes, and non-democratic/non-accountable leaderships” (161). He completes this argument by suggesting that this political record “is put to shame by clear-headed Anglo-Saxon and Protestant respect for law and accountability. God is a distant police sergeant does have its social merits.”
Of course this fear-based approach to right living, “be good or you’ll go to hell” may be what is driving young people away from the conventional churches. Just a thought here.
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