Our Experience Attending the Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly, May 3-5, 2019 in Albuquerque, NM by Jason and Trey Sherwood
This three part series (part 1 and part 3 here) will focus on our shared experience attending the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly with the theme, “Be Transformed”. We are excited to inform you of the Synod’s “Better Together” strategic plan, share our reflections on the plenary speaker Father Richard Rohr’s message of transformational faith, and give you insight into the church’s work with migrants and refugees.
Part 2: The Universal Christ
The most spiritually impactful part of the assembly was hearing globally recognized Franciscan Father Richard Rohr speak about radical compassion, theology, Christian mysticism, contemplation, transformation, church as community, who we are with God, and his latest book, The Universal Christ: How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For and Believe.
Father Rohr is best known for his spiritual writings, talks and as the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The “Perennial Tradition” forms the basis of much of his teaching; the core message of his work focusing on the union of Divine Reality with all things. He is informed by a variety of religions and spiritual practices and views all the world’s religious traditions as sharing a single, metaphysical truth or origin from which all knowledge and doctrine has grown.
Despite this impressive resume, he was a humorous, joyful, kind and approachable speaker who invited us “Good Lutherans” to consider the contemplative mind as a tool for reformation. His mission is to produce compassionate and powerfully learned individuals who will work for positive change in the world based on awareness of our common union with God and all beings.
Jason and I, who are too-often identified by our careers and struggle with work/life balances, while desiring to be impactful, engaged members of Christ’s community; both felt Rohr’s words struck home with us. Moving away from categorizing things as “us and them” or “he or she” (either or), we were inspired to think non-dualistically about how we see the world and our role in it.
Rohr says, “Let the principle of three (the Trinity) undo our dualistic principle of two – God is three and one at the same time”!
Since coming back from the conference, we have begin to use our new, “wide lens non dual glasses” to stop and think about how our ego gets in the way of embracing those that seem different than us. Instead of making snap judgments, we pray that God will give us patience and wisdom to see beyond the surface, to practice empathy and compassion so that we may see Christ in all things and all people.
We invite you to learn more about Richard Rohr’s teaching by visiting the website for the CAC at: https://cac.org.
To watch a video recording of the three-part keynote Rohr delivered at the assembly, visit: www.rmselca.org/assembly_resources (scroll to the bottom).