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Publisher's Summary

We often think of saints as rare individuals whose gifts far exceed our own, and St. Francis is no exception. But for Fr. Richard Rohr, a prolific author and renowned speaker, the life and teachings of this beloved figure offer an authentic spirituality we can all embody.

On the Art of Letting Go, Fr. Rohr gives us a six session learning course that explores: the surprising richness we discover by simplifying our lives - without taking a vow of poverty; liberation from our self-limiting biases and certitudes; contemplation and action, two key steps toward communing more deeply with the Divine, and more.

©2010 Sounds True (P)2010 Sounds True

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Series of lectures on spiritual development

Over the last couple months I have come to the conclusion that Evangelicals (of whom I am one) are good at sharing the gospel and keeping the importance of conversion squarely in their sights.

But I have also come to see that groups that assume the large scale Christianity of their communities (those that have been state churches) have done much more thinking about how to live as a Christian.

It is cliche (and I think at least partially true) that Evangelicals are interested in you up until your conversion. After that I think we fall into the Paul problem of continuing to feed one another spiritual milk. We are still trying to save one another. But I think those that theologically are more oriented toward infant baptism and Christendom have thought more about living as a Christian. (The negative for them is that they also now need to evangelize their own as Christendom has broken down.)

There is nothing wrong with keeping the gospel at the forefront of our Christianity. But that does not mean that we need to keep the basic gospel message as the main content of our Christian teaching.

So I have been seriously thinking about finding a Roman Catholic spiritual director particularly because I want to learn more about spiritual growth from a different perspective. (On the other hand I have had a couple Evangelicals recommended to me, if you think of it, this is something I am still praying through and I would welcome your prayer for me.)

Richard Rohr has been interesting to me since I first read his book Falling Foward. Later I listened to his lectures that were turned into a book Why Be Catholic. And I want to read more about his work in male initiation rites and spiritual development.

But as I was looking around for an audiobook the other day I picked up The Art of Letting Go. It is not a book that is narrated, but rather six talks that are packaged together as an audiobook. They sound like they were prepared for those that want to go on a spiritual retreat with Rohr, but can only listen to an audiobook or lecture instead.

Many Evangelicals will probably find multiple places strange and questionable. But on the whole these are much more like Eugene Peterson’s memoir The Pastor or Marilynne Robinson’s Gilead. These sound more like a personal conversation with a spiritual mentor about how to grow spiritually.

There are six different sections, each about an hour about an area that Rohr thinks we need to let go of in order to grow spiritually. There is so much content here (in just 6 hours) that I will not attempt to recount it but only give a few thoughts. St Francis is a reoccurring character, but not really the subject of the book. The main subject of the book is the paradox of Christianity that God often uses what we perceive as loss to help us grow.

So we experience pain and through that pain we realize that we are not in charge of our lives and we give up trying to control a particular area of life and then God is able to draw us in to a deeper spiritual connection with him.

One thing I thought is useful is that Rohr is careful to say that people that are not growing spiritually are still Christian. And I think that is part of the problem with Evangelical theology (mine included) that we mix up redemption and sanctification. From the point of Salvation we are saved. But that is just the start of our spiritual growth as a Christian. God desires more for us, but does not force it on us. There is a paradox of the reality that we cannot growth spiritually under our own power, but God gives us the power (through the Holy Spirit) to move forward spiritually. But it seems that not being obedient and not following God allows us to miss out on spiritual growth.

Spiritual growth is not a knowledge problem, it is an obedience problem. This has been a reoccurring theme of my reading lately. And it is one that is hard to get around.

This is a series of lectures that needs more than one sitting. I think I will put it on my calendar to listen to again in another year.

27 of 28 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 02-20-11

delivery a bit disappointing;still a 5 star listen

As a long time listener of Rohr audio (tapes dating back to 1976), I found the delivery in this sounded more "scripted" than his usual dynamic and enthusiastic spontaneous style. However, it condenses and updates his older audio "Spirituality of Subtraction" very nicely. This retreat is directed at a broader audience than his usual Christian, and that somehow broadens his presentation of Francis' radical critique of society even more.

Good to see a teacher like Rohr on Sounds True and Audible.

He is not a fad teacher and walks the talk (or the silence), and has been doing so for decades. His wisdom grows over the years and can benefit anyone interested in spirituality, no matter the variation.

31 of 33 people found this review helpful

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Buy his Eager to Love print book instead.

I really love Richard Rohr, and was happy to see a bunch of his books on Audible. Sadly, most of them are read by an atrocious narrator, so I've stayed away. However, when I saw that some of the titles here are not audio books but rather, audio teaching, I was excited to try one out. This one was fairly enjoyable, and Rohr's voice is pleasant to hear on 1.5x or 2.0 (otherwise, it's painfully slow on this one as he's reading a script, unlike the others that feature live teaching). But the content--inspired by Francis of Assisi's life and teaching--isn't by far as profound as Rohr's brilliant book Eager to Love. I'd highly recommend buying this book instead (but not the audio book due to said atrocious narrator who sucks the life out of the content) if you're interested in this topic. It's profound and even life-changing, whereas a lot of this content is forgettable.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Michael
  • Rochester, MN, United States
  • 11-22-11

A spiritual retreat of sorts

I really enjoyed listening to this program. It was as if I was on a spiritual retreat as I listened to Richard Rohr talk about the life of St. Francis and apply it to my life today. The insights offered transcended religion and dogma and addressed my real spiritual needs. For anyone trying to learn how to "Let go and let God," this is right on target.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Well Done Brother!

On your spiritual journey seeking God, Fr Richard Rohr brings St Francis to life. He alows us to visualize with great clarity how St Francis was able to Let Go from things of this world. I found in The Art of Letting Go, as Pope John Paul II said on his death bead, "I have been searching for you all my life, and now you have found me" has a new meaning.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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Life changing

I've been Christian then new thought then went through 12 step and started to circle back to Christianity who made me wonder what part did I have wrong. Rohr's 9 steps of spiritual development explained it all and made it all make sense. Now I know my broken heart and broken self is of use. And right on track.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Heart and Soul Provoking..

Would you listen to The Art of Letting Go again? Why?

I have listened to it 3 times and get something new each time

What did you like best about this story?

Answered my question as to why I don't feel at home in this world...

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Transforming Words of Wisdom

Wonderful words of encouragement to live a life of letting go. Very inspiring and thought provoking. I plan to listen to it more than once.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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New Age

What would have made The Art of Letting Go better?

I was misled by the fact that the author is a Catholic priest. I expected his presentation to be in sync with historic Christian theology.

What was most disappointing about Richard Rohr’s story?

I felt that it was very friendly to New Age philosophy. The Word of God is equated with "Christ consciousness." We have a divine soul. All religions say basically the same thing. Etc. I do not have in interest in this non-Biblical type of approach to Christianity. I also felt that the ideas I did agree with are presented more deeply and effectively in Eastern Orthodox literature that I have read.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

I enjoyed the author/narrator's delivery, but ultimately I was disappointed and will delete the book from my library.

Any additional comments?

If you like New Age thinking, this is for you.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A wonderful message, love God, love one another...

The one most important act of love is to forgive...unconditional love is to forgive and Richard Rohr repeats this many times throughout his narration. I feel so fortunate to have been able to listen to The Art of Letting Go for $15.00!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Ms. B.Hartland
  • 04-14-13

Revolutionary Idea in a Materialistic World

This is an excellent audio book. I have listened to this so many times I have lost count. So many ideas spoken in a non judgemental way, by someone that is obviously 'walking the walk'. I listened to his orignal tapes, way back when (he says of himself he was pushy in them) and the journey he has himself been on is evident. He does not expect you to accept anything he says, he is merely putting ideas and his own observations on the spiritual life.



I, like many people have accumulated many bits and pieces to supposedly help me on my journey and have found that although some may have helped, there is a point where letting thngs go is definitely the way forward. The author uses St Francis of Assissi as an example but having a Christial faith is not necessary to get the most out of this audio book. Letting go is not just about letting go of things it's also about letting go of the idea we have to travel upwards, improve ourselves by acts of will (and many more things) If we are to truly improve ourselves (yes heres a paradox) we have to travel inwards, travel downwards and let go.



My summary is of course no where near as elegant or as well said as in the audio book, I only hope that I have explained it well enough so that I don't put you off buying it as I would recommend this book to anyone wo is sincerely walking their own spiritual path, no matter what tradition the most heavily draw from.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Jude McDowall
  • 12-24-12

Life Changing

Richard is just so down to earth His gentle delivery and relaxed style encourage you to really listen to the message based on the teachings of St Francis

I'm on my third time through this book and the message just gets stronger each time A wonderful counter to an ever more manic world

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-23-12

Gentle wisdom

Rohr's gentle, conversational tone nonetheless contains wisdom that could change your life if you let it. If you want your life to be more centred and less frenetic then this is the book for you, no matter what faith group you belong to.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 05-01-16

Truly Outstanding

This is such a beautiful and profound book. I have listened to it many times already and I will listen to it again.

It is rich beyond measure.

Sincere thanks for this valuable gift Father Richard Rohr.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Miss Laura J Marsh
  • 03-25-16

Beautiful

Read like a relaxed chat, which was soothing & full of important spiritual principals. Very nice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick Hallett
  • 11-26-15

Authenticity

This man has seen the light in himself and all of us. Listen, trust and practice if you can.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Teresa Murphy
  • 09-20-15

A wonderful experience

What did you like most about The Art of Letting Go?

I found the whole idea of Letting Go was very clearly presented

What did you like best about this story?

Richard dealt with it very comprehensively. I do thing these ideas if practised would make a huge difference to our world. They were presented as possibilities for all of us

What does Richard Rohr bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

I think when I listen I can be more attentive to the ideas being presented

Any additional comments?

Thank you all for this experience.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Janet
  • 06-09-15

Reinforced what I always knew deep down that I knew.

Simply life changing, reinforced what I always knew I knew, but forgot as the world engulfed me..

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Kingdiplodocus
  • 03-08-15

Very good from Rohr again.

The narration is excellent but the audio quality is a little sub-par. I would recommend anything from Richard Rohr. His explanation of the journey is very helpful and honest as always.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • joe's 1
  • 09-27-17

Very good! Let go of needing perfect: enjoy this and enjoy life

Having read several of Richard Rohr's books ot is rather lovely to hear his voice.

He writes and talks well, delivering insight, wisdom, and well turned, memorable, pithy catchphrases.

There's a fair bit of lovely stuff about st Francis early on, but he perhaps gets a little lost later on, when it turns more to the subject of letting go. On this there is far more "why" than "how" - but then that always seems to be the case. There is a little bit of how. Near the end.

This isn't academic theology and at times he is a little free and easy, perhaps heading towards glib. I rather like this as it allows for free associations and parallels and insights, and after all, as he says, we must let go of trying to intellectually "understand" or conquer everything; we are in the realms of the reality of experience here - and therefore of mystery. However, I can see some might not like this, and at times or does... not grate, or even ware, but maybe distract.

I really liked this and would strongly recommended it.

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  • Jacqui
  • 08-27-17

Life Changing

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I can't begin to tell you how much I loved this book by Father Richard Rohr. I listened to it once then decided that I needed to listen to it again and write notes. I did that then decided to listen to it a third.....and a fourth time! There are so many hidden gems that I didn't want to miss one of them. I will probably listen to it again too. You can never have too much of a good thing in your life!

What did you like best about this story?

So many hidden gems.

What does Richard Rohr bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

It is like listening to a wise but gentle teacher. His warmth is wrapped up in to the words of the story and his real life examples magnify it.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

Life Changer.

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  • izabela
  • 07-16-16

True wisdom

Thankyou for sharing and teaching something that has been so needed For all of us in this beloved world