Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Second Half of Life

May 3, 2011

I have enjoyed the past two days in the company of colleagues from around the country in conversation with Richard Rohr, a Franciscan who founded the Center for Action and Contemplation over twenty five years ago. His most recent book is called Falling Upwards and he develops an image of what he calls the ‘second half of life’. The ‘first half’ is the work of ‘making the container’, --the structures and institutions that give shape to our lives. After a period of going through some stumbling blocks and beginning the work of ‘dying to self’, we begin the ‘second half of life’ as enjoying the ‘content’. This period is marked by an 0overcoming of either/or thinking in favor of a more mature understanding of the unity of all things, the cosmic Christ and other such notions.

Rohr is an appealing a engaging speaker who was able to use some images and language for familiar concepts that brought a new perspective. Among the more fruitful conversations for me were questions about what liturgy or common prayer looks like that really addresses the real issues and gifts of this second half, but it was not somewhere Fr. Rohr was really able to go. He was more of the ‘leaving church’ school rather than finding ways for church to do what he says is important and necessary, namely the whole of life. He has stimulated some interesting thinking and conversations for me.

1 comment:

Robert Ross said...

For many of us the second half of life is evolving into a redesign of the container. Many of the institutions and preconceptions that we built our lives on are radically shifting or dissolving. In a rapidly changing world, the church is one of the few constants we can rely on.