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The Center for Action and Contemplation began as a dream of Fr. Richard Rohr’s in 1986 during his first year in Albuquerque, New Mexico. By October of 1987, the first edition of Radical Grace was published. The name was chosen because it expressed the paradoxical nature of the Center’s purpose: standing in a middle place, at the center of the cross, where opposites are held together.

We believed that action and contemplation, once thought of as mutually exclusive, must be brought together or neither one would make sense. We wanted to be radical in both senses of the word, simultaneously rooted in tradition and boldly experimental. One of the expressions of the radical nature of our work was our extensive inclusivity, bridging gaps within the spiritual and justice communities, building a rhythm of contemplative prayer and Zen meditation into our days, and even more fundamentally, believing that external behavior should be connected to and supported by inner guidance.

We believed . . . that the power to be truly radical comes from trusting entirely in God’s grace and that such trust is the most radical action possible. We know one thing for certain: grace has brought us to this place and grace flows in and through and among us. In our best dream, Grace itself does the work; guides our hands and our hearts, motivates our choices. We continue to realize that everything is a gift.

From an article that appeared in the special December 1999 Anniversary Edition of Radical Grace.