Falling Upward

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life is the first Richard Rohr book I've read--though I had (of course) heard of him and his books for some time (he's written roughly a whole bunch). I'm encouraged to read more.

His way of writing and expressing himself was new, and a bit off-putting at times. He leans heavily on Jung and Homer, employing The Odyssey as a framework for understanding the two halves of life. He turns to the teaching of Jesus, frequently looking at Jesus' words in new ways and applying them (and in at least one case, in my view, misapplying them) to his thesis.

While I think he paints with too broad a brush, his message is well taken. He says that many people, regardless of age, never truly enter--let alone successfully navigate--the second half of life, and I think he's right. He suggests different priorities and strategies in life's second half, which ring true in my experience. And he points out that most human institutions (including the church) tend to focus on "first half" issues rather than "second half" priorities. Again, I think he's right.

As someone who is well into the second half of life (a thought that came as a surprise to me), I think (or at least I hope) that he's close to the mark when he writes:
In your second half of life, you can actually bless others in what they feel they must be doing, allow them to do what they must do, challenge them if they are hurting themselves and others–but you can no longer join them in the first half of life. You can belong to such institutions for all the good they do, but you no longer put all your eggs in that basket. This will keep you and others from unnecessary frustration and anger, and from knocking on doors that cannot be opened from the other side (pp. 141-142).
Falling Upward is worth reading, regardless of your age or assumed level of maturity (spiritual or otherwise). It will make you think. It may perplex you in places. And it might even focus you, your life, your walk with God, and your ministry.

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