The Universal Christ
How a Forgotten Reality Can Change Everything We See, Hope For, and Believe
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • From one of the world’s most influential spiritual thinkers, a long-awaited book exploring what it means that Jesus was called “Christ,” and how this forgotten truth can restore hope and meaning to our lives.
“Anyone who strives to put their faith into action will find encouragement and inspiration in the pages of this book.”—Melinda Gates
In his decades as a globally recognized teacher, Richard Rohr has helped millions realize what is at stake in matters of faith and spirituality. Yet Rohr has never written on the most perennially talked about topic in Christianity: Jesus. Most know who Jesus was, but who was Christ? Is the word simply Jesus’s last name? Too often, Rohr writes, our understandings have been limited by culture, religious debate, and the human tendency to put ourselves at the center.
Drawing on scripture, history, and spiritual practice, Rohr articulates a transformative view of Jesus Christ as a portrait of God’s constant, unfolding work in the world. “God loves things by becoming them,” he writes, and Jesus’s life was meant to declare that humanity has never been separate from God—except by its own negative choice. When we recover this fundamental truth, faith becomes less about proving Jesus was God, and more about learning to recognize the Creator’s presence all around us, and in everyone we meet.
Thought-provoking, practical, and full of deep hope and vision, The Universal Christ is a landmark book from one of our most beloved spiritual writers, and an invitation to contemplate how God liberates and loves all that is.
Rohr (Falling Upward), a Franciscan priest and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, N.Mex., invitingly asks Christian readers to bring together their thinking about Jesus (the historical person) and Christ (the savior) in order to recognize God in the world around them. Rohr believes that many Christians spend too much time quibbling about the differences between denominations and the veracity of the historical record. As an alternative, he asks readers to take on an "incarnational worldview" that sees God dwelling in and through all of creation. Rohr begins by examining and appreciating Jesus's historical identity as a religious martyr, and then explores his legacy and the notion of the Christ beyond religious, cultural, or political tribalism. Rohr focuses on Christ's universal qualities and directs the book at Christian and non-Christian readerships, referencing parallels to Jesus in Buddhist traditions, Eastern mysticism, and analytic psychology to illustrate his points. Though Rohr provides much detail and deconstructive interpretations of scriptural passages, readers will have to work out for themselves what it means to see God's presence in everything. Rohr's innovative reflections will inspire believing readers to think deeply about the nature of God.
This book opened my mind
And brought me to a deeper understanding of Christ. All the questions of my faith that I had wrestled with (like only “Christians” can go to heaven) were profoundly answered in this book in a way that made sense to me in my deepest understanding.
Could be “cleaner” but this magnum opus is as practical as it is masterful.
It changed my life my concept of God. My beloved son who passed away of cancer at the age of 60 was on the same journey in his last year‘s. We felt each others presence because we each felt the universal Christ within. Even in death I still feel his presence and I pray he can feel mine.