Hospitality and *Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps* by Richard Rohr (A Book Reaction)

Hospitality and *Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps* by Richard Rohr (A Book Reaction)

I learned of the Twelve Steps and Bill W through my father’s journey. Mondays and Thursdays were A.A. meeting nights; Monday at the local monastery, Thursday at his home. It was the Thursday meeting that captured my interest. I experienced it a few times as a participant and what I saw, what I experienced was nothing short of formational.

Those experiences were years ago now and upon reflection,
the steps of salvation, the steps of redemption found within the Twelve Steps had come to mind, not so much for the specific struggle with alcohol, but as stepping stones of healing.

You see, my family lives in a close-knit Christian community who seeks to step freely into hospitality for the Christs who come knocking. And what we’ve experienced has been brokenness after brokenness, and this within ourselves most of all. Hidden expectations have boiled to inner anger; old habits and outlooks on life have proved to be emotionally and communally fatal. We’re slowly discovering, mostly by the grace of the Christs coming into our brokenness, that we are addicted, filled with dead attractions, tangled within with old cloth wiring that’s worn through, threatening a fire.

How can we deal with these things?

We’ve also discovered that many of the the life journeys of the Christs who knock are filled with learned, habitual brokenness. We wonder how we might embrace one another’s pasts, presents, and futures.

These things were what brought the Twelve Steps to mind.

Rohr’s book is a helpful, simple introduction to the Twelve Steps; it’s a weaving of the steps, the reception of grace, and spiritual awakening – things necessary to walk the steps of redemption.

The chapters are short, beginning with once of the Twelve followed by a few verses from the Bible capstoned by something Jesus said.

Rohr’s words are insightful for stepping into healing. Though he occasionally spills into a short rant about organized religion’s disability to nurture health, these episodes highlight that our sickness is beyond us as individuals but quite systemic, of which those in the organized Christian religion circles (we who because of Christ should be stepping the steps of life) are the most ill and deceived, often using our religion as a cloak to dismiss brokenness instead of embracing and renovating it.

The best of the book for me was the small discussion guide. It would make a great conversation piece, taking a discussion guide chapter a night. It would help a group engage in story sharing and through that, receiving one another’s brokenness – an important step toward healing.