Celebrating the Gift of God’s Love

Browsing Deacon's Blog

A Couple of Good Reads

This year's Just Faith session includes reading the book “Strength to Love” which is a collection of writings by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. All of us involved have found these writings to be a profound source of insight, encouragement, and challenge. Personally, I have never read any of Dr. King’s writings and was not prepared for the depth and profound nature of his writings. Before this, I was limited to reading quotations from his writings and of course, hearing the “I Have a Dream" speech. While these were always good and thought provoking, you cannot really get the full depth of his message without diving into his writings. Dr. King had a way of pulling bible study, theology, history, and philosophy into the writings which time and time again leave you saying yes, yes, yes to such profound truth rooted in Jesus.

In his writing “On Being a Good Neighbor”, he dives into the parable of the Good Samaritan and really hits a home run with his insights and challenges. Short of just putting the whole chapter here for you to read I just want to give you a taste.

He (the Good Samaritan) saw him as a human being first, who was a Jew only by accident. The good neighbor looks beyond the external accidents and discerns those inner qualities that make all men human and, therefore, brothers.

The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.

Desegregation will break down the legal barriers and bring men together physically, but something must touch the hearts and souls of men so that they will come together spiritually because it is natural and right.

I know this exposure to Dr. King’s writing has left me with a deep desire to read more of his materials, and I encourage you to spend some time with this faith-expanding book.

It is no secret that I am a big fan of Fr. Richard Rohr’s writings. Many people that follow his daily blog have commented supportively to me when I include some of his thoughts in my homilies. He is definitely a prophet crying out to us to leave behind our old and dangerous understandings of God, Jesus, and religion. In his latest book, “The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe” he really challenges us to widen our understanding of Christ beyond simply the human existence of Jesus. Some of the material has just resonated deep within me right away and some I have to reread a few times before I get where he is leading us in our understanding of a Universal Christ. All of the material has been eye-opening and has really enhanced my faith life and understanding of the Christ mystery. Here are a few excerpts from the book to give you a small taste.

Most of the perennial traditions have offered explanations, and they usually go something like this: Everything that exists in material form is the offspring of some Primal Source, which originally existed only as Spirit. This Infinite Primal Source somehow poured itself into finite, visible forms, creating everything from rocks to water, plants, organisms, animals, and human beings--everything that we see with our eyes. This self-disclosure of whomever you call God into physical creation was the first Incarnation (the general term for any enfleshment of spirit), long before the personal, second Incarnation that Christians believe happened with Jesus. To put this idea in Franciscan language, creation is the First Bible, and it existed for 13.7 billion years before the second Bible was written.

Right now, perhaps more than ever, we need a God as big as the still-expanding universe, or educated people will continue to think of God as a mere add-on to a world that is already awesome, beautiful, and worthy of praise in itself. If Jesus is not also presented as Christ, I predict more and more people will not so much actively rebel against Christianity as just gradually lose interest in it. Many research scientists, biologists, and social workers have honored the Christ Mystery without needing any specific Jesus language at all.

Without a sense of the inherent sacredness of the world--of every tiny bit of life and death--we struggle to see God in our own reality, let alone to respect reality, protect it, or love it. The consequences of this ignorance are all around us, seen in the way we have exploited and damaged our fellow human beings, the dear animals, the web of growing things, the land, the waters, and the very air. It took until the twenty-first century for a Pope to clearly say this, in Pope Francis’s prophetic document Laudato Si. May it not be too late, and may the unnecessary gap between practical seeing (science) and holistic seeing (religion) be fully overcome. They still need each other.

If you attended or watched our Advent Night of Reflection, “Finding Jesus in Our World” you got a very small taste of the type of material in this book. 

What have you been reading lately that has been an inspiration to your faith life? Comment below or email me, I would love to hear.

Peace, Love, and Blessings

Deacon Richard


  • Mary HuettlPosted on 3/31/22

    Good as always! I agree with your reads.



RSS Feed