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Experiencing Grace

“Experiencing radical grace is like living in another world.

It’s not a world in which I labor to get God to notice me and like me.

It’s not a world in which I strive for spiritual success.” 

Richard Rohr


You don’t have to make yourself good enough for God. 

It’s a message I often heard from church people, usually followed up with a few things I should do anyhow:

You don’t have to make yourself good enough for God, but
you should read your Bible more, pray more, fast more, give more, witness more.

You don’t have to make yourself good enough for God, but
you should worry less, want less, doubt less, argue less, sin less, fail less. 

You don’t have to make yourself good enough for God, but
would it kill you to try?



let me try one more time. This time I’ll get it right.

I promise you, God.


When people ask me what I believe these days, I don’t know what to say.

I believe in God the Father, Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son our Lord. But those words are so often stretched and twisted, they could mean almost anything. They could mean nothing.

So I pause, because it’s sometimes difficult to wrap words around all that’s in my heart.

It’s difficult to put belief on a map, as if it is a place at which one could arrive, rather than a journey.

Ask me what I believe and I’ll send you a postcard; I don’t have a home address.



I believe in grace.

Not the sort of grace that promises the power to acheive spiritual success. Not the sort of grace that will help me try harder so that God will notice and like me. Not the sort of grace I need to find or earn or conjure up.

I believe in grace that doesn’t follow the rules.

I believe in grace that defies categories and definitions.

I believe in grace that doesn’t make sense.


People say “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater,” and I think they mean to not throw out the good religion with the bad.

All I know is that when I’ve thrown it all out, grace is what remains. It won’t leave.

People say “Don’t deconstruct too much without reconstructing something in its place.”

All I know is that when everything else has been torn down, grace is what remains.

Grace is the one thing I can’t get rid of.


I couldn’t see it at all until grace was all that was left.

(Maybe it’s enough.)


In a world of quick fixes and five simple steps and guaranteed success, it’s tempting to write a formula for grace. Mark it on a map, so I can find it without wandering.


I have this growing suspicion that the only way to find grace is to give up. Throw up your arms. Throw in the towel. Empty your hands. Fall backward, away from everything you were striving to become.

And there She is.

For whoever would save his own life will lose it.


when you give up and lose your life, life will find you.

read more:
Everything Belongs by Richard Rohr

[ image: antoncino ]

published July 9, 2014

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