Everything old is new again--or so they say. And certainly the theology being presented in Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell's book The Divine Dance illustrates that very point. Which is not to say it is shopworn or boring or simply repetitive. Rather, it is to acknowledge that their "take" on the Trinity reflects the writings not only of the scriptures themselves, but many early church writers.
To summarize the ideas put forth in the rather slim volume (as theological tomes go) in a sentence or two would be an injustice. Yet there are core ideas that get reiterated in a variety of ways throughout the book. Reminding us more than once that "all religious language is metaphor" (47) Rohr and Morrell see the dance metaphor as a near perfect way to view the Trinity. For the Trinity, they suggest, is all about "flow" and "relationship"--things that are found in dance. "God is relationship itself," they write. (45)
There is something very appropriate about the fact that this volume is the product (if you will) of the work of two authors--not one. Two authors in relationship. Two authors working together. Two authors engaging in a "word dance"--a phrase coined, I believe, by James Thurber. Of course every published volume (other than some self-published works) is the result of relationships between authors and editors--but two named authors makes that even more explicit.
For Rohr and Morrell even the traditional names for the persons of the Trinity--Father, Son, Holy Spirit--become, as they put it "placeholders." "The inner life of the Godhead," they state at one point, "this is a mystery that stretches language to the breaking point. . . . The all important thing is to get the energy and quality of the relationship between these Three--that's the essential mystery that transforms us." (91) Ultimately, understanding the Trinity is this fashion, the author posits, makes it possible for us to see how we can and do enter into the divine dance.
No review can't begin to do justice to this simple, yet complex work. Yes, that is paradoxical, even oxymoronic--but what relationship isn't? The practices included at the end of the book can help to facilitate ones participation in the dance, but in the end, it isn't about reading or engaging in spiritual
practices, in the end, it is all about waltzing and twisting and quick stepping and more. And Rohr and Morrell make great partners for those who wish to participate in the dance.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part5 255.