A Community in Transition
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Over the past few years, the Center for Action and Contemplation has been in a time of significant transition. For thirty-two years, CAC staff and volunteers have fostered the development of a global community while wonderfully supporting, amplifying, and communicating my preaching and teaching around the world. We’ve done this through conferences, retreats, work internships, the bookstore, our literary journal Oneing, the Mendicant newsletter, the Living School, podcasts, online courses, and of course, these daily meditations.
I must honestly say that few priests or ministers have such a team of partners and collaborators in their ministry and work. They make me look much better than I am in real life! I did nothing to deserve this. It still surprises me every day.
As I happily enter my final years, the CAC continues to grow. We realize it is our responsibility to offer something broader and beyond Richard Rohr—an organization that does not depend on me for its credibility. We have been moving in this direction for some years now, sincerely asking, “How can the CAC continue to be of service, building on what God has already done with us? How can we offer something of further value that has authority and believability on its own?”
Furthermore, we feel called to do this in what many have described as a time of major regression, denial of the past, and even collapse! This is no exaggeration; we need only look at the evidence provided by this global pandemic, the state of the planet, and our worldwide politics of despair. We can track the abandonment of many religious traditions, especially Western Christianity and the Catholic Church in particular due to the loss of moral authority through the pedophilia crisis, as well as the continued exclusion of women and the LGBTQ community as full partners in many denominations. Historians will probably remark on this era’s challenges to legitimate claims to truth.
The question we are asking now is, “How can a small but strong foundation of wisdom teachers—CAC core faculty and others—be of service to the world and to Love?” At the CAC, we do not want to drop into scarcity mode, a reactive position, or the politics of despair.
I’m convinced of and committed to the Christian contemplative tradition as the way through and beyond this era. We hope you consider yourself part of the CAC community and will join us in a reformation that is rising from the margins of our institutions and society. This reformation is nonviolent, beyond the usual binary arguments, and is transforming human consciousness and communities at both the conscious and unconscious levels. Moving forward, what else will change our politics and our religions?
Adapted from Richard Rohr, “When All is Adrift,” the Mendicant, vol. 10 no. 1 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2020), 1, 5.