Richard Rohr Meditation: On the Edge of the Inside

  1. Today’s CAC meditation [below] underlines the spirit of the Open Table and allied online networks seeking collaboration on implementing inclusive justice. 

It also challenges us to think about ‘chaplaincy’ among ‘the priesthood of all believers’ as specifically located dialogue in contrast to the institutionalised confinement of ‘church buildings’ and ‘formal liturgy’ distanced from the everyday meeting places where our faithfulness must needs be expressed. There are some fine phrases emphasising the dangers of judging others while maintaining our own ‘defended camp’  

2. The other daily meditation, by Matthew Fox, offered as  ‘The Creation Spirituality Lineage Calling All Social and Environmental Activists, Mystic Explorers, Justice Makers, Cosmic Thinkers, Earth Keepers’  has this quotation: 
‘For practitioners or spiritual warriors, people who have a certain hunger to know what is true, feelings like disappointment, embarrassment, irritation, resentment, anger, jealousy, and fear, instead of being bad news, are actually very clear moments that teach us where it is that we’re holding back.  They teach us to perk up and lean in when we feel we’d rather collapse and back away.’  Pema Chodron 

There would be value in your response.

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From: Center for Action and Contemplation <>
Date: Sun, 21 Mar 2021 at 06:22
Subject: Richard Rohr Meditation: On the Edge of the Inside
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Sunday, March 21st, 2021  
Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation
From the Center for Action and Contemplation  
Week Twelve: Prophetic Imagination: On the Edge of the Inside   

In 2020, I began sending out occasional letters that I called “Letters from Outside the Camp,” a reference to the many usages of “outside the camp” in the Hebrew Bible. It is a prophetic position “on the edge of the inside,” which is described by the early Israelites as “the tent of meeting outside the camp” (Exodus 33:7). Even though this tent is foldable, moveable, and disposable, it is still a meeting place for “the holy,” which is always on the move and out in front of us. The free and graced position found in the tent of meeting is what allowed Jesus and all prophets in his lineage to speak from the privileged minority position. It is always less desirable, compared to the comfortable and enjoyable places at the center and the top; yet it is the Jesus stance, and the place where all Franciscans follow after him.The prophet exercises his or her imagination from that place of freedomas my favorite Scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann describes so well: Because the totalism [that is, the system] wants to silence, banish, or eliminate every such unwelcome [prophetic] intrusion, the tricky work is to find standing ground outside the totalism from which to think the unthinkable, to imagine the unimaginable, and to utter the unutterable.” [1]

The “tent of meeting” is the initial image and metaphor that eventually became our much later notion of “church.” The greatest prophet of the Jewish tradition, Moses, had the prescience and courage to move the place of hearing God outside and at a distance from the court of common religious and civic opinion—this was the original genius that inspired the entire Jewish prophetic tradition. It is quite different than mere liberal and conservative positions, and often even at odds with them. Prophecy and Gospel are rooted in a contemplative and non-dual way of knowing—a way of being in the world that is utterly free and grounded in the compassion of God.
It inspires me to wonder how we might maintain that same sense of prophetic freedom outside the contemporary political and religious “encampments” of our day. For those of us who are sincerely and devotedly trying to camp elsewhere than in any political party or religious denomination, we know full well that we must now avoid the temptation to become our own defended camp.
Somehow our occupation and vocation as believers in this time must be to first restore the Divine Center by holding it and fully occupying it ourselves. If contemplation means anything, it means that we can “safeguard that little piece of You, God, in ourselves” as Etty Hillesum describes it. [2] What other power do we have now?

[1] Walter Brueggemann, Tenacious Solidarity: Biblical Provocations on Race, Religion, Climate, and the Economy (Fortress Press: 2018), 384.
[2] Etty Hillesum, An Interrupted Life: The Diaries, 1941–1943; and, Letters from Westerbork, trans. Arnold J. Pomerans (Henry Holt and Company: 1996), 178.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “Some Simple but Urgent Guidance,” Sept 21st, 2020; “Letters from Outside the Camp 3,” Nov 2nd, 2020; “Letters from Outside the Camp 4,” Jan 19th, 2021.

Prayer For Our Community
Loving God, you fill all things with a fullness and hope that we can never comprehend. Thank you for leading us into a time where more of reality is being unveiled for us all to see. We pray that you will take away our natural temptation for cynicism, denial, fear and despair. Help us have the courage to awaken to greater truth, greater humility, and greater care for one another. May we place our hope in what matters and what lasts, trusting in your eternal presence and love. Listen to our hearts’ longings for the healing of our suffering world. Please add your own intentions . . . Knowing, good God, you are hearing us better than we are speaking, we offer these prayers in all the holy names of God. Amen.
Listen to Father Richard pray this prayer aloud.  

Story From Our Community
When I heard Richard Rohr interviewed by Krista Tippett, my whole being sang. He gave words to what I have always intuitively felt but couldn’t explain. Reading Richard Rohr has led me to others who have also helped me realize that religion is merely a finger pointing to the moon. I would now say that I am an inter-spiritual person who is aware that I must go down in order to go up. This is both frightening and exhilarating. And I am so grateful.
—Kael S.

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News from the CAC  The Universal Christ—Now in Paperback
Discover how a forgotten reality can transform the way you live in Christ with the paperback edition of The Universal Christ. Enjoy a new afterward from Fr. Richard, and experience the world—with all its joys, triumphs, setbacks and sufferings—through the eyes of Love. 

Explore the Prophetic Wisdom of Mary Magdalene
Discover how Mary Magdalene’s teachings can transform our 21st century lives in the online course, “Mary Magdalene: Apostle to Our Own Times.” Join CAC faculty member Cynthia Bourgeault and an online community of spiritual seekers on an exploration of Jesus’ most important apostle. Apply for financial assistance by April 7. Registration ends April 14.   

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