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Richard Rohr - Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps

SPCK ISBN 978 0 281 07512 6 147 Pages Price £9.99

Richard Rohr is the spiritual guide of choice for many in what has been called the “Emergent Church”. People like Brian McClaren and Rob Bell value the profound, yet deceptively simple writings of this Franciscan monk.

What I like about his books is that they take the Bible seriously as the source of wisdom in life, but move beyond the simplistic use of the Bible that can often be a feature of evangelical preaching and writing. Rohr stretches the mind, probes the heart and prods the will into action. 

This book takes the Twelve Step Programme of Alcoholics Anonymous and develops a Christian response to the things to which we can become addicted. Rohr suggest that addiction might be a good contemporary way to think of the traditional idea of “sin”.

Some will find that like his mentor Thomas Merton, Rohr is a little bit chummy with Buddhists; there is always a danger of blurring the lines. Yet this caution notwithstanding, Rohr provides a well laid out workout for the soul; pointing to a wisdom that spells genuine freedom.

In addition to the study questions in the book, SPCK have produced a Companion Journal (ISBN 978 0 281 07514 – 7; Price £9.99) that provides a useful resource for thinking through the issues raised in the book.

John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle

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