Richard Rohr: an Evidence-Based Emergence

Tuesday Nov 5th 9.21am
‘A massive shift in perspective’
 Hard to find a more succinct statement of the challenge before all ‘religions’ than this. It is an important contribution to the growing awareness of the need for a new mega-narrative about the Common Good and the profound restructuring required.

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From: Center for Action and Contemplation <>
Date: Tue, 5 Nov 2019 at 07:15
Subject: Richard Rohr Meditation: An Evidence-Based Emergence
To: peter challen <>

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Richard Rohr’s Daily MeditationFrom the Center for Action and Contemplation Week Forty-five Science: Old and New   

An Evidence-Based Emergence: Tuesday, November 5, 2019  
The Rev. Michael Dowd is an evidential mystic and eco-theologian who has earned the respect of Nobel laureate scientists, many religious leaders, and little old me. Michael and his science-writer wife, Connie Barlow, show how a sacred-science view of reality can inspire people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs to work together in service to a just and thriving future for all. Dowd writes:

Religion is undergoing a massive shift in perspective . . . as wrenching as the Copernican revolution, which required humanity to bid farewell to an Earth-centered understanding of our place in the cosmos. The religious revolution on the horizon today might well be called the “Evidential Reformation.” We humbly shift away from a human-centric, ethnocentric, and shortsighted view of what is important. At the same time, we expand our very identities to encompass the immense journey of life made known by the full range of sciences. In so doing, we all become elders of a sort, instinctively willing to do whatever it takes to pass on a world of health and opportunities no lesser than the one into which we were born…..

An evidential worldview has become crucial. We now know that evolutionary and ecological processes are at the root of life and human culture. To disregard, to dishonor, these processes through our own determined ignorance and cultural/religious self-focus is an evil that will bring untold suffering to countless generations of our own kind and all our relations. We must denounce such a legacy. Ours is thus a call to . . . sacred activism. [Twenty-five] years ago, Carl Sagan both chided and encouraged us in this way:How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, “This is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed.”…..

A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificence of the universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw forth reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths. Sooner or later, such a religion will emerge. [1]

I [Dowd] submit that the “religion” of which Sagan spoke has been emerging for decades, largely unnoticed, at the nexus of science, inspiration, and sustainability. Rather than manifesting as a separate and competing doctrine, it is showing up as a meta-religious perspective (. . . an insight discerned by Thomas Berry). Such an evidence-based emergent can nourish any secular or religious worldview that has moved past fundamentalist allegiances to the literal word of sacred texts.  

I, Richard, agree with Michael Dowd that healthy conversations between science and faith have been taking place for decades, but I mourn the fact that they have been on the margins of both the academy and our churches. I rarely bring science into my Sunday sermons, perhaps because I assume it’s not what people want to hear. However, if we truly want to be a part of the “Evidential Reformation,” we must each do our part to understand and share the ways science and our faith affirm one another. 

Gateway to Presence:
If you want to go deeper with today’s meditation, take note of what word or phrase stands out to you. Come back to that word or phrase throughout the day, being present to its impact and invitation.  [1] Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space (Random House Publishing: 1994), 50.Michael Dowd, “Evidential Mysticism and the Future of Earth,” “Evidence,” Oneing, vol. 2, no. 2 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2014), 15-18.Image credit: Chestnut Trees at Jas de Bouffan (detail), Paul Cézanne, 1880/1891. Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, Minnesota.   Forward to a Friend → Forward this email to a friend or family member that may find it meaningful.   Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up for the daily, weekly, or monthly meditations. Sign Up →    Thank you for being part of CAC’s contemplative community. You are one of 342,475 readers worldwide (as of November 2019).

News from the CAC Read the new issue of Oneing! Richard Rohr, Diana Butler Bass, Brian McLaren, Naomi Tutu, and other critical thinkers explore lessons of the past and imagine the ongoing evolution of the church in the latest edition of CAC’s bi-annual journal Oneing.Order a copy of “The Future of Christianity” at   

Old and New: An Evolving Faith   2019 Daily Meditations ThemeAs you witness so much division, fear, and suffering in our world, you may wonder what path—if any—there is toward healing and hope. Perhaps your church or faith has been important to you, but now you may be questioning if it is still a trustworthy or relevant guide. Does Christianity have anything of value left to offer?Franciscan Richard Rohr suggests that there are good, beautiful, and true gems worth holding on to. At the same time, there are many unhelpful and even harmful parts of what has passed for Christianity that we need to move beyond. In his Daily Meditations, Father Richard helps us mine the depths of this tradition, discerning what to keep and what to transcend. Each week builds on previous topics, but you can join at any time! Click the video to learn more about the theme and to find meditations you may have missed. We hope that reading these messages is a contemplative, spiritual practice for you.   Learn about contemplative prayer and other forms of meditation. For frequently asked questions—such as what versions of the Bible Father Richard recommends or how to ensure you receive every meditation—please see our email FAQ
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