The Tragic Gap

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Jesus is both a dual thinker and a non-dual thinker. You’ve first got to know how to clarify thought and then also how to move beyond it. Jesus spoke very much as a Jewish prophet. What the prophet is invariably doing is clarifying our choices for us, putting them before us in often clear dualistic choices (sheep or goats, life or death, heaven or hell, as it were). The journey of the soul has an urgency and ultimacy about it, which many people still miss, as we see every day.

But Jesus doesn’t stop with dualistic choices. After he has put you on the horns of the dilemma, he opens the horizon further. You have to hold the moment and suffer the moment, which is usually neither fight nor flight, but a mysterious and wonderful third way! You have to feel the tension to choose beyond the tension. And then, as Parker Palmer says, you learn to fill “the tragic gap” with simple presence (not answers!).

The prophet first of all shows you the tragic gap and then Jesus teaches you how to stand in the middle and pay the price yourself for its resolution. This is so hard to teach that he finally had to visibly do it on the cross before we could get the point: the horizontal arms of the cross are the two sides of every dilemma, the vertical line is the third way, and the way through.

Richard Rohr, adapted from Exploring the Naked Now webcast


  1. Talking of online dating, if only Richard Rohr was available... ;-)

  2. I was just thinking the same thing, Tess. All the best ones are unavailable -- or so it seems! I really appreciate his daily email message.

  3. LOL at Tess and Barbara, us single women all think alike :)

    I read this post three times and still don't know what to say in the comments.

  4. He would be a good one to have a D&M with, that's for sure :)


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