#1090 We’re Only the Light Bulbs

Our Job Is to Remain Screwed In!

Richard Rohr is one of my new favorite teachers.

Alexandra got me his book called Falling Upward after I told her how much I loved David Brooks’ The Second Mountain. Apparently it’s recommended alongside that book on Amazon. With 1,400+ reviews, Alexandra thought I might like it.

And, well, YES!! Not only did I like the book, I loved it. (Check out those Notes for more.)

And… I fell in love with Richard Rohr.

Father Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest. In fact, he’s been a Franciscan priest for FIVE DECADES.

This has particular resonance for me. As we’ve discussed, I was raised Catholic and went to Catholic school for twelve years. At my elementary school and primary church, our priests were Franciscan.

Yet… The closest I’ve come to studying an integrated Catholic perspective thus far has been Anthony de Mello—a Jesuit priest.

So… I found Father Richard’s wisdom particularly resonant for a range of reasons.

Now… When I read a book, I use a blank note card as a bookmark. On that note card, I jot down related books and ideas I want to make sure we cover in our Notes together. After reading chapters in which he connected Odysseus and the Hero’s Journey to Christianity and our modern lives, at the top of the bookmark-card for this book I wrote this description of Father Richard: “If Joseph Campbell was a Franciscan monk.”

I laughed as I typed that but it’s pretty darn close to being a great micro-bio. Throw in a little Ken Wilber and a TON of “elderly” wisdom and voila. We have one of my new favorite spiritual teachers.

But that’s not quite the point of Today’s +1.

Today I want to chat about a fantastic line from the book that comes pretty darn close to capturing the intention behind ALL of our work together.

Here it is: “As Desmond Tutu once told me on a recent trip to Cape Town, ‘We are only the light bulbs, Richard, and our job is just to remain screwed in!’

How great is THAT?

We’re only the light bulbs. Our job is just to remain screwed in. (Thank you, Bishop Tutu.)

Not only does that line capture the essence of all of our work together, it’s also a great answer to Joseph Campbell’s question: “What am I? Am I the bulb that carries the light, or am I the light of which the bulb is a vehicle?


Here’s to keeping ourselves screwed in so the Divine Light can shine through us.



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