Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest, the founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation and Academic Dean of the Living School for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the author of many award-winning books and is profiled in Spirituality & Practice's Living Spiritual Teachers Project. His collaborator on this new book is Mike Morrell, communications director for the Integral Theology think tank Presence International and a founding organizer of the justice, arts, and spirituality Wild Goose Festival.
The Divine Dance takes us on a world-class tour of the mystery of the Trinity in Christian history and thought. These days large numbers of mainline Protestants and Catholics are fleeing the churches and seeking to fashion and nurture their own spiritual life. Rohr beckons these strays with the words: "My fondest hope is that these pages would reposition you in the mirror of the divine fellowship, with a place at the table."
Rohr rightly observes that the old plausibility structures supporting concepts of God are dying and much of religion is in rigor mortis. The Trinity offers humanity a reconnection with God, self, and the world that is still unfolding in grace and transformation. Another benefit from this paradigm is that it offers a grounding for interfaith dialogue. Equally important is the realization on the part of both contemplatives and physicists that "the foundational nature of reality is relational: everything is in relationship with everything else." This is an understanding Christianity has long affirmed through the doctrine of the Trinity.
In a spirit that is both playful and sober-minded, Rohr muses about the Trinity and its movement beyond duality, patriarchy, domination, living within the paradox of restlessness and contentment, nurturing the body, letting your ego identity fall away, affirming unity, and cherishing diversity. He sums up:
"God for us, we call you Father.
God alongside us, we call you Jesus.
God within us, we call you Holy Spirit.
You are the eternal mystery that enables, enfolds, and enlivens all things.
Even us and even me.
Every name falls short of your goodness and greatness.
We can only see who you are in what is.
We ask for such perfect seeing –
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.
There are two paths that will enable seekers in our times to have a new experience of spirituality: the path of wonder and awe and the path of suffering. Both encourage us to participate in the Trinitarian mystery of being loved and participating in the divine dance. Before concluding, Rohr addresses problems which might hold us back from genuine spiritual experience such as Transcendence Deficit Disorder, having to talk about sin, and the wrath of God. Then with great flourish, he ends with a question and a response:
"What would happen in your life — right now — if you accepted what God has created and even allowed?
Suddenly, this is a very safe universe.
You have nothing to be afraid of.
God is for you.
God is leaping toward you!
God is on your side, honestly more than you are on your own."