Thursday 21 January 2016

Book Review: Breathing Under Water by Richard Rohr

Review by Chris Wren James

Having read most of Richard Rohr’s fabulous books this one came as no surprise in its depth and wisdom. RR heads up ‘ The Centre for Contemplation and Action’ in Albuquerque New Mexico, working with the desperate and destitute. In ‘ Breathing Underwater’ he has aligned the gospel message with the original 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and writes with tenderness and grace but hard truth as well about the process of climbing out of the many obvious but subtle addictive processes that surround most lives. Even the semi-hidden ones such as – dare I say it?- Face Book and Twittering. Secular wisdom calls it the discovery of mindfulness, but Christians through the centuries have been aware of the of the presence of the one God, Jesus, who never leaves us destitute.

This is no soft sell feel-good book but more a mirror to the face of things with many Selah moments. This is not so much an approach to recovery from addiction but more an awareness that a sense of our own powerlessness is the first step out of anything we feel contained by, that is causing us pain. Rohr constantly points to Jesus as the ultimate and ever present healer, who moved constantly between preaching and healing. Generally speaking today’s church does an overload of preaching but very little healing.

If you are searching for depth and profound wisdom, this is not a light read but a marvellous revelation.

He talks about the infantile thinking processes of even recovered alcoholics.


  1. Thanks, Christine. I enjoy reading Richard Rohr's books too, but I haven't read this one as yet. I don't agree with all he writes but his books contain many wonderful and freeing insights, especially about God's grace and about becoming the person God created us to be.

  2. This certainly sounds powerful.


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