The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation by Richard Rohr
I picked up this book in an ongoing attempt to figure my shit out. Religion has and will always interest me, and the idea of the Trinity is something that I grew up with in both a Christian household and Christian schooling.
However, this idea became extremely confusing and warped to me as I studied religion and the Bible in college, which left me as I am now, just trying to figure my shit out. I’m sure you can relate.
I first heard of Richard Rohr through Rob Bell’s podcast, and had been meaning to pick up a book of his for a while now. The Divine Dance is by no means a textbook of Trinitarian Theology, and that’s not what I was looking for. The subtitle of the book is “The Trinity and Your Transformation”. This book seeks to analyze the Christian idea of Trinity as it relates to ones individual interaction with it and with others.
I really enjoyed the overarching ideas that Rohr was presenting through this book. Mainly, that we are participants in a Divine Flow. “This God is the very one whom we have named ‘Trinity’- the flow who flows through everything, without exception, and who has done so since the beginning” (Rohr 37).
We are invited to the table, the table as depicted in one of my favorite icons, one by Andrei Rublev. Rohr’s interpretation of this icon and how we are the fourth participant at the table was truly incredible and encouraging.
As participants in this loving flow, we can understand a more cyclical idea of God, rather that an “elevator religion” or “pyramid religion”. One that separates us from God; God is “up there” and we must accomplish good deeds to connect to them.
“Once you look out at reality from inside the Trinity, you can and will know, love, and serve God in all that you do. The metaphors, rituals, and doctrines of other religions are no longer threatening to you, but often very helpful. God as Trinity makes competitive religious thinking largely a waste of time. But only mystics seem to know that the only possible language by which we can talk about God is metaphorical” (Rohr 82).
Rohr calls this participation a dance. This idea that we are in constant motion with the Divine. How fucking cool, right? We are not in a stagnant religious state, but one that is dynamic and full of movement outward.
With all that being said, I never invest 100% into any theologian or theological idea. There were parts of Rohr’s argument that I just couldn’t jive with. He made a point of talking about the gender of the Trinity, which, for me, is completely irrelevant. The ancient language used in sacred texts, and all language for that matter, can only be metaphorical and restricted by bias and the surrounding culture. While Rohr does go into that a bit, the whole point seemed moot for me.
What I also found was missing was a sense of this Divine Dance in relation to a Universalist mindset. Not that I want to go into that right now, but the way that Rohr spoke about the acceptance and inclusion of God as Trinity made me wonder what he would think about this idea in the concept of Universalism.
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