Book review: Immortal Diamond

by Richard Rohr

★★★★

Ready to experience the mystical side of Christianity with a Franciscan friar? Here’s a journey that Father Richard Rohr promises will secure a happier existence. It’s the quest for your True Self … the resurrected self, the “immortal diamond” deep within you, which he says is neither God nor human, but both at the same time.

It took me a little longer than usual to get into the book, which keeps it below a five-star review, but it was worth the persistence. My problem was that Rohr writes with a sort of matter-of-fact authority that left me wondering if I missed the proof text somewhere along the way. Perhaps I did; Rohr has published around two dozen books since his first in 1976, and this is the first I’ve read.

Rohr’s target is those who sense God is closer than they’ve been told. If you find yourself “in recovery from religion,” you’re in Rohr’s crosshairs. He wants to introduce you to a deeper meaning to life, deeper even than the surface Christian tradition that has been your paradigm to date. While Rohr’s heritage is clearly Judeo-Christian, and many of his quotes come from the Bible, he aims at uncovering the perennial truths that all religions share.

Resurrection is key, both of our Lord and of ourselves. Resurrection is necessary for new life, life in unity with God. As “children of the resurrection” (Luke 20:36), our relationship with God changes … we “breath God in and out—much more than we ‘know’ God, understand God, or even talk to God.” There is an intimacy with God at this level that we never reach within our selfish, base existence, the “False Self.”

A deep read, if you’re ready to take the leap.

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2 Comments

  1. This is going on my to-read list, thanks Lee!

    I’ve long been aware that the Christianity most people know and practice (if they practice it at all) is merely on the surface. What we’re left with today seems to me to be the simpler “milk” of which Paul speaks, reserved for the “babes in Christ” — for the masses of people new to the faith. But I ask, “Where’s the beef?!” — it seems we’ve experienced arrested development in infancy and deeper spiritual teachings in Christianity are not taught, perhaps lost (or gone underground) long ago. Perhaps it’s this arrested development, in part, that causes many, who are ready to graduate to higher education, to leave Christianity (grade school, kindergarten?) for other spirtual practices — or worse, none at all.

    It’s this shallowness and having my own profound mystical experiences in my early 20s that originally drove me away from, or beyond Christianity (I was raised in the Episcopal Church). I set out on a journey of studying comparative religions and mysticism in general. But many years later, I’ve returned to Christianity (albeit to a more liberal or progressive version of it!), seeking with great hunger to uncover the “secret” or hidden deeper spiritual lessons of mystical internal transformation (“resurrection” or “being reborn of the Spirit” — “the mysteries of the Kingdom” which is to be discovered within oneself) that Jesus originally taught to his more advanced disciples. These teachings were not written down early on, but passed on orally from master to disciple, per ancient tradition. (Those not within Jesus’ close circle were taught “in parables”.) The clues to Jesus’ deeper spiritual teachings of transformation are there in the early Christian texts we have (both cannon and non-cannonical), if one has developed the spiritual ears to hear, and spiritual eyes to see.

    I’ve devoured many books on my journey, scholarly and historical, and those more esoteric as well. “Immortal Diamond” will be another very soon. :)

  2. Lee Harmon

    You don’t appear to have crept back to Christianity, but stormed through the doors.

    Glad to meet another book lover! My bookshelves are prominently displayed in my dining room, where religious topics have mostly taken over the shelves.

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