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Book of the Month (01/05/2015)
The Saint Columba's House theological book group read 'Immortal Diamond' earlier this year, having read and enjoyed Richard Rohr's earlier book, 'Falling Upwards' the year before. This review is drawn together from members' contributions.Immortal Diamond is written for seekers and thinkers, both believers and non-believers alike. It examines the idea that within each person there is an inner core of goodness, “the true self”, which forms the Immortal Diamond of the title. But alongside each “true self” there is a “false self” which we necessarily assume in order to exist and survive in a tough and imperfect world. The argument runs that our attitudes and behaviours at various times of our lives reflect the relative dominance and interactions between the true self and the false self. Fr Richard Rohr, who is an American Franciscan priest, examines this concept in a way which is engaging, wide-ranging and stimulating. On the way, he encourages us to be more open to the views of others, less confined by conventional religious boundaries and less impressed by rituals and dogma. He emphasises that there are many routes to the truth. We found this book optimistic and encouraging and, whether one agrees with the author or not, it is certainly food for thought. One member found the book incredibly moving: It spoke to him in a very deep spiritual way that resonated with a recent experience and significantly helped his understanding of his own Spiritual path. Importantly, it illuminated a way forward.Other members found the practical appendices very helpful, particularly appendix C which gives suggestions for prayer during the waiting time between Good Friday and Easter. Fans of Rohr will be aware that whilst he is an engaging speaker and a deep thinker, he tends to assume familiarity with a certain amount of counselling/psychology jargon. Because of this, Immortal Diamond can't be called an easy read but it rewards those who will give it time and attention. As one member said, 'It taught me a lot and I am glad I read it. But a word of advice: if you are not familiar with Richard Rohr and his teaching, I strongly recommend you watch him on YouTube first (just enter Richard Rohr); he is an engaging speaker and it is useful to have a feel for his approach before opening the book at page 1.' Reviewed by Gillaine Holland, Chaplain of St Columba's House, Woking.

Gillaine - Woking
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