All Saints News & Events
Our new theme for the summer term is ‘Breathing Under Water’, based on a book by Franciscan Priest Richard Rohr. The title is from a poem by Carol Bieleck, and hints at the need to learn to ‘breathe underwater’ for a culture and church that often seems to be drowning without knowing it.
In his book Richard Rohr points out the similarity between the ‘Twelve Steps’ programme of Alcoholics Anonymous and the teaching of Jesus and makes a case for seeing what the church calls Sin as an addictive disease that we all fall prey to.
We live in an addictive culture and the only answer many people find is to get more of what has already failed them. We see this clearly with addictions such as alcohol, drugs, pornography, but it doesn’t stop there....... gossip, jealousy, greed & consumerism etc. Our society is drowning in its addictions and the church often seems to ignore the need for healing, yet Jesus always seemed to be where the pain and suffering was.
The starting point for the healing of our addictions is a recognition of our helplessness. We are powerless to help ourselves, that’s where healing begins (the Church calls it redemptive grace), and it should end with the fullness of knowing Christ and being known by Him. The truth though, is that many alcoholics and many Christians never get to the fullness of joy that God promises, but stop in a parody of Old Testament – ‘Thou shalt not!’
Over the next 2-3 months, with the help of Richard Rohr, we’ll be studying the parallel between the AA’s Twelve Step programme and the teaching and ministry of Jesus, with the aim of seeing a greater honesty in our relationships with God and one another. The last word goes to St. Paul, who so often got right to the point, cuts through our excuses, dismisses our reasoning and says it as it is:
“I cannot understand my own behaviour. I fail to carry out the very things I want to do, and find myself doing the very things I hate.... for although the will to do what is good is in me, the performance is not.”
Romans 7: 15, 18.