Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” John 3:3
I call myself a “reborn Christian.” I was not a believer, and now I am, a circuitous route for me, to be sure. But since the day I decided to lay my life at the foot of the cross, I have never, not for one day, thought my faith was failing. My belief that my lost soul could not have found its way out of the deep mire without the saving power of Jesus Christ, Son of God, is as natural to me as breathing.
Recently, I read something written by Franciscan priest Richard Rohr*: “My sense, after being a priest for almost 50 years, is that most Christians are trying to save something they have not even found.” Rohr seems to give us wretched humans a pass. “The soul,” he continues, “is the blueprint inside every living thing that tells it what it is and what it can become” (italics mine). So…Jesus isn’t needed here? This “soul” theory applies to every living thing? My dog, the blooming Catalpa tree in my yard, the fish my husband catches and releases? God created all those living things, but do they have…souls? And does that mean I’ll see all those dogs I’ve loved and lost in heaven along with the human varieties in the same category (loved and lost, not dog-like)?
But just when I am confused enough about this “born again” thing, Rohr* gives me this quote by Barbara Brown Taylor: “You only need to lose track of who you are, or who you thought you were supposed to be, so that you end up lying flat on the dirt floor basement of your heart. Do this, Jesus says, and you will live.” So now it starts to make sense: becoming “born again” can happen to any of us, at various times in our lives, more than once, even! This is what my Aunt Bess meant when she said she’d been “born again” several times! When we get to the end of ourselves and we realize we are completely off the rails (which has happened to me more times than I care to admit), God will take us back. Again! Born again, again.
Praise You, Lord, that You gave us souls and help us keep discoverimg them! Amen
Quotations are from the daily devotional writings of Father Richard Rohr, “a globally recognized ecumenical teacher bearing witness to the universal awakening within Christian mysticism and the Perennial Tradition. He is a Franciscan priest of the New Mexico Province and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation (CAC) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Fr. Richard’s teaching is grounded in the Franciscan alternative orthodoxy—practices of contemplation and self-emptying, expressing itself in radical compassion, particularly for the socially marginalized” (from the website https://cac.org/richard-rohr/richard-rohr-ofm/ )