Franciscan priest Rohr (The Naked Now) is a big-picture kind of thinker when it comes to characterizing the human journey. Life has two halves; life follows the pattern of a hero/heroine's journey; life is disorderly and inherently tragic. Elders and mystics are more inclined to such sweeping and subtle observations, and Rohr, born in 1943, fits in both categories. Rohr writes about spirituality in broad terms, but is deeply grounded in the writings and thinkers of his Catholic religious tradition. His discussion of familiar theological concerns--the necessity of suffering, the opportunities provided by mistakes--is fresh because imaginative and vigorous. His metaphors ("discharging your loyal soldier"), paradoxes (see the book's title), and arguments are not, however, easy to follow or even easy to summarize. They will frustrate some readers, but delight others who are attentive enough to follow the connections Rohr makes. This small, provocative book will make a particularly good gift for a thoughtful, spiritually open man. (May) (Publishers Weekly
, April 11, 2011)
From the Inside Flap
In the first half of life, we are naturally and rightly preoccupied with establishing our identity—climbing, achieving, and performing. But those concerns will not serve us as we grow older and begin to embark on a further journey, one that involves challenges, mistakes, loss of control, broader horizons, and necessary suffering that actually shocks us out of our prior comfort zone. Eventually, we need to see ourselves in a different and more life-giving way. This message of "falling down"—that is in fact moving upward—is the most resisted and counterintuitive of messages in the world's religions, including and most especially Christianity.
In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr—the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation—offers a new paradigm for understanding one of the most profound of life's mysteries: how our failings can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from time-honored myths, heroic poems, great thinkers, and sacred religious texts, the author explores the two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed, or "gone down" are the only ones who understand "up." We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.
With rare insight, Rohr takes us on a journey to give us an understanding of how the heartbreaks, disappointments, and first loves of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half of life has in store for us.