“…Francis’s starting place was human suffering instead of human sinfulness, and God’s identification with that suffering in Jesus. That did not put Him in conflict with any (Catholic) dogmas or strictures. His Christ was cosmic while deeply personal, his cathedral was creation itself, he preferred the bottom of society to the top. He invariably emphasized inclusion of the seeming outsider over any club of insiders, and he was much more a mystic than a moralist. In general, Francis preferred ego poverty to private perfection, because Jesus ‘ ” became poor for our sake, so that we might become rich out of His poverty” ‘(2 Cor 8:9). …….”

“The Franciscan worldview is not heretical, nor is it a threat, except to the comfortable and the careerists. It is not about a struggle for control. If you look at the history of heretics who are condemned, their transgression is normally about issues of authority, priesthood, administration of sacraments, and ‘ ” Who’s got the power? ‘ ” I cannot think of anyone who was ever burned at the stake for NOT taking care of widows and orphans, or for any issues of orthopraxy. It is shocking when you begin to notice this- after your initial shock in wondering why Christians would ever burn anybody at the stake to begin with! The third shock is that no pope, priest, or parishioner has ever been excommunicated for living too rich a lifestyle, or for being ambitious, greedy, or prideful , even though Jesus condemned these things much more directly and openly than for what we usually excommunicate people.

Jesus does indeed force us toward clear dualistic choices with stories like the camel and the eye of the needle, Lazarus and the rich man, the sheep and the goats, and lines like ‘ ” You cannot serve both God and money ” ‘ (Matt 6:24). It often seems that where Jesus is truly dualistic, we refuse to be, and where Jesus was very unclear or never spoke, we have arrived at absolutely certain conclusions! Check it out for yourself. Organized religion has paid much more attention to some things Jesus never once mentioned (birth control, abortion, and homosexuality) and rather totally ignores other things that he stated with utterly clarity (“Go sell what you have and give to the poor”) (I am not trying to be negative, rebellious, or clever, but just trying to name the elephant in the living room that we all have agreed not to notice.)”

~Richard Rohr β˜†Eager to Love : The Alternative Way of Francis of Assisi

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