The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe
Humans have an innate habit of categorizing everything around us. With other humans and their experiences we frequently develop an “us vs them” mentality, one where we do anything we can to stay a part of the “us” and everything to avoid falling into the “them.” This evolution has created many problems throughout world history and societies, both modern and ancient. One of the most obvious cases of this is the exclusivity of religions and religious groups throughout time. Where “god” and spirituality is not simple or easy, humans have tried to create paths in order to simplify faith and apply practices they felt beneficial to them and their communities, but on their way to meet this goal they often ostracized and judged others who did not believe or take the same approach to life or spirituality as they did. In The Universal Christ, Richard Rohr takes a refreshing and optimistic perspective on spirituality and religion. Before reading the Universal Christ, the Christ story can feel exclusive, confining, judgemental and even scary. Rohr embarks on a book-long journey that’s full of love, inclusivity, and understanding to explain how faith is not so much a destination one reaches once they think they’ve found all the right answers, but a journey each and everyone of us are on if we so chose, one that a higher power can actively be a part of instead of separated from. Perhaps my favorite thing about Rohr’s writing is his lack of superiority when talking about the abstractions of what it means to “believe in a higher power.” Not all who read will agree with Rohr’s theories, but it’s his openness to this reality and willingness to surrender to his lack of knowing that is so refreshing and beautiful. If I could sum it up it would go like this “I don’t really know about this life or what it means or where I’m going, but I’ve got a couple theories I’d like to share. Help me figure them out if you want, because I believe none of us really know but it’s awfully fun to speculate and discuss.”
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • With a new afterword • From one of the world’s most influential spiritual thinkers, a long-awaited book exploring what it means that Jesus was called “Christ,” and how this forgotten truth can restore hope and meaning to our lives.
“Anyone who strives to put their faith into action will find encouragement and inspiration in the pages of this book.”—Melinda Gates
In his decades as a globally recognized teacher, Richard Rohr has helped millions realize what is at stake in matters of faith and spirituality. Yet Rohr has never written on the most perennially talked about topic in Christianity: Jesus. Most know who Jesus was, but who was Christ? Is the word simply Jesus’s last name? Too often, Rohr writes, our understandings have been limited by culture, religious debate, and the human tendency to put ourselves at the center.
Drawing on scripture, history, and spiritual practice, Rohr articulates a transformative view of Jesus Christ as a portrait of God’s constant, unfolding work in the world. “God loves things by becoming them,” he writes, and Jesus’s life was meant to declare that humanity has never been separate from God—except by its own negative choice. When we recover this fundamental truth, faith becomes less about proving Jesus was God, and more about learning to recognize the Creator’s presence all around us, and in everyone we meet.
Thought-provoking, practical, and full of deep hope and vision, The Universal Christ is a landmark book from one of our most beloved spiritual writers, and an invitation to contemplate how God liberates and loves all that is.
Praise for The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe
“Fr. Richard challenges us to search beneath the surface of our faith and see what is sacred in everyone and everything. Anyone who strives to put their faith into action will find encouragement and inspiration in the pages of this book.”
-Melinda Gates, author of The Moment of Lift
"Rohr sees the Christ everywhere, and not just in people. He reminds us that the first incarnation of God is in Creation itself, and he tells us that 'God loves things by becoming them.' Just for that sentence, and there are so many more, I cannot put this book down."
“Here Fr. Richard helps us to see and hear Jesus of Nazareth in what he taught, what he did and who he is—the loving, liberating and life giving expression and presence of God. In so doing he is helping Christianity to reclaim its soul anew.”
-Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America
"A major shift in our culture is needed, and Richard Rohr's unpacking of The Universal Christ is a critical step in the right direction. Remembering our connection to "every thing" has implications for our religious traditions, society—and dare I say it—even our politics."
-Kirsten Powers, CNN political analyst and USA Today columnist
"[Rohr] invitingly asks Christian readers to bring together their thinking about Jesus (the historical person) and Christ (the savior) in order to recognize God in the world around them . . . Rohr’s innovative reflections will inspire believing readers to think deeply about the nature of God."
“Anyone who has made a confession of faith in Jesus Christ should read this book to grasp more fully the vast and startling implications of this belief. This is Richard Rohr at his best, providing an overall summation of his theological insights that have been life-changing for so many.”
-Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, General Secretary emeritus of the Reformed Church in America
"Here, Christianity finds its root and its destiny in all things, in all matter, in all creation. and here, we find our connection to universal belonging, to universal trust, and to universal love. This book will change religion and make it tender and gentle and transformational."
-Timothy Shriver, Chairman of the Special Olympics