Spiritual Leaders

Richard Rohr in Adam’s Return

How do we explain the larger-than-life people we occasionally meet in every country, in most institutions, even the smallest churches, and hidden away in our neighborhoods? There always seem to be one or two people who hold the energy of a group together, strategic individuals whom the Bible would call “chosen people,” men and women who move events an history forward, sometimes almost invisibly. Where do such folks come from? I have given up thinking that such people come from any one religion, any one school of thought, any particular race or nation, any specific socioeconomic sector, or even, indeed, that they are always perfect or moral in the conventional sense. Spiritually powerful individuals seem to cross and defy all of these boundaries.

Something else seems to have happened to them, and one way to put it is that they have somehow been “initiated.” Initiated into their true self, initiated into the flow of reality, initiated into the great patterns that are always true, imitated into the life of God – choose the description with which you are most comfortable. Such initiations took specific ritual forms in every age and every continent for most of human history. They were considered central to the social survival of nearly every culture – and to the spiritual survival of males in particular.

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