We Conspire — We're in the Pattern Together

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We’re in the Pattern Together

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The alternative orthodoxy invites us to trust in God’s promise of resurrection.

April 13th, 2022

How is the mystery of The Cross revealed in your life? What resurrections follow the many “deaths” we experience? This month, many Christians celebrate Holy Week, honoring the death and resurrection of Jesus. This time often leads to deep reflection on what God is trying to tell us about the promise of enteral renewal.

Franciscan friar Richard Rohr says, “The Risen Christ is not a one-time miracle but the revelation of a universal pattern that is hard to see in the short run.” That one statement encapsulates so much of the healing message of the alternative orthodoxy. God is inviting us to step out of our small selves — my story and our story — to experience Jesus’ resurrection as a pattern of renewal for all creation.

A Pattern We Can Trust

Jesus’s death and resurrection is God’s way of revealing a universal pattern that weaves through all life. God can take the worst thing in the world — the killing of the God-Human Jesus— and change it into the best thing: the redemption of the world. The same can happen for us.

If we trust the universal pattern, the wisdom of all times and all places, including the creation and evolution of the cosmos itself, we know that an ending is also the place for a new beginning.

—Brian McLaren, Naked Spirituality

Though we don’t always understand the pattern, we can trust that Love is at its heart. “If we believe that the Risen Jesus is the full and trustworthy unveiling of the nature of God, then we live in a safe and love-filled universe,” Fr. Richard writes in the Daily Meditations.  

Believing in Our Own Holiness

Trusting in our love-filled universe invites us to see that we, too, are love-filled and holy. Musician, author, and Living School alumnus Brie Stoner reflects on this idea in the final episode of Fr. Richard’s podcast Another Name for Every Thing:

I remember as a student in the Living School being baptized into this concept of originally good. It was such a radical shift for me to believe—to practice the sight that could see Christ in everything, also in myself.

There’s so much shame that we’ve received in a lot of unhealthy religious upbringings. I think that shame has turned into a blame game because we are unable to see ourselves as whole. We dissect everybody else because we’re unable to accept ourselves as holy. We judge and declare unholy and unworthy the bodies of others.

—Brie Stoner, as heard on Another Name for Every Thing

Brie goes on to explore the ideas of inherent holiness in her own podcast, Unknowing.

Listen: In the episode “Beyond Borders,” Brie Stoner and Meisha Lerato Robinson discuss the practices that help us unknow the stories that keep us from seeing each as beloved and whole (60 minutes).

When my story and our story perpetuate the idea that we are unworthy, a daily contemplative practice of silence and stillness can help ground us in original goodness. Once we begin to trust in our own holiness and see it in others, we not only can trust in the pattern, but we can also be empowered by it. When we realize that death is not the end, our hearts become open to an entire cosmos of loving possibilities.

Death Does Not Have the Last Word

There are no exceptions to death, just as there are no exceptions to grace. The alternative orthodoxy also believes that there are also no exceptions to resurrection. Love is always stronger than death.

Watch: Filmed during the height of COVID-19 lockdown, Brian McLaren explains how welcoming death can open a path toward healing (5 minutes).

Watch: African American mystical scholar Dr. Barbara Homes shares how the wisdom of her ancestors reminds her that we are all connected, even beyond death (4 minutes).

Reflect With Us

How do you renew your trust in God’s promise of renewal when facing the end of a journey?

Share your reflection with us.

We Conspire is a new series from the Center for Action and Contemplation featuring wisdom and stories from the emerging Christian contemplative movement. Sign up for the monthly email series and receive a free invitation to practice each month.

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