Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Book Review Falling Upward

Once in a while a book just grabs me. One of those "I-can't-put-it-down-must-tell-all-my-friends-about-it type of book." Well, I think I found one this past week in Richard Rohr's Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life (Jossey Bass, 2011). Now I read a lot of spirituality books and many often leave me a bit empty. Falling Upward was just the opposite. It made me want to read more and more and more!

I heard of Father Rohr before but have not ready any of his books until now. He is a Fransiscan priest and runs the Center for Action and Contemplation in New Mexico. A priest and pastor for over forty years Rohr brings the best of family systems, spirituality, and psychology together in one seamless whole.

The basic thrust of this book is quite simple, yet leaves the reader with plenty to think about for the rest of his or her life. In short, Rohr states that the first half of life is spent making a name for ourselves, creating our foundations, building our barns to so speak. We spend a lot of energy in this time of life, some of it fruitless and anxiety causing (trust me, been there, done that!!). Then the second half of life is spent hopefully in detachment, letting go, living more fully in Christ-likeness, yet also falling once in a while. Rohr also says that failing and falling is essential, important in the spiritual life. One cannot grow into a deeper understanding of who we are without first failing. It's hard to fail, heck, we all want to do better, to be the best that we can be, yet Rohr reminds us that Jesus taught us through word and example that being a part of his family means being the least, taking the lowest position, having humility, and being meek. Yet the world teaches us the opposite.

What makes this book stand out among the hundreds if not thousands of spirituality books is his writing style. He writes from his heart. This book does not have endless footnotes nor does it go off track. Each chapter builds upon the previous one. I certainly will read and re-read this book again and not too far in the future either.

I congratulate Father Rohr for his writing ministry and hope that he continues to  fail and fall but at this stage of life he probably can't fall too far!

For more information about Father Rohr and Falling Upward click here