Review: Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life

Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of LifeFalling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

From the back cover of the book:

In the first half of life, we are naturally and rightly preoccupied with establishing our identities – climbing, achieving, and performing. But those concerns will not serve us as we grow older and begin to embark on a further journey, one that involves challenges, mistakes, loss of control, broader horizons, and necessary suffering that shocks us out of our different and more life-giving way. This message of ‘falling down’ – that is in fact moving upward – is the most resisted and counterintuitive of messages in the world’s religions, including and most especially Christianity.

In Falling Upward, Father Richard Rohr offers a new paradigm understanding one of the most profound of life’s mysteries: how our failing can be the foundation for our ongoing spiritual growth. Drawing on the wisdom from time-honoured myths, heroic poems, great thinkers, and sacred religious texts, the author explores and two halves of life to show that those who have fallen, failed, or ‘gone down’ are the only ones who understand ‘up’. We grow spiritually more by doing it wrong than by doing it right.

With rare insight, Rohr takes us on a journey to give us an understanding of how the heartbreaks, disappointments and first loves of life are actually stepping stones to the spiritual joys that the second half of life has in store in us.

I have to say that I found this book rather disappointing when considered as a whole, particularly when compared with his other books by Rohr that I have read over the years. I found it slightly disjointed in construction, less than cohesive in theme, and providing relatively few insights that I found of any consequence. There were a few gems to be found, but they were relatively rare. Overall not one of Rohr’s books that I would recommend.

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Article by Andrew Doohan

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