Category Archives: The Divine Dance book study

“The Divine Dance” book study Chapter 1

Blessed Trinity by Lance McNeel

I loved Rohr’s view of the Trinity as Dancers who are the Dance.

And this passage:

every vital impulse
every force toward the future
every creative momentum
every loving surge
every dash toward beauty,
every running toward truth,
every ecstasy before simple goodness
every leap of élan vital, 
every ambition for humanity and the earth,
for wholeness and holiness,
is the eternally flowing life of the Trinitarian God

– Richard Rohr

This was my favorite passage in chapter 1. There is also an eternally flowing of the image of God in us. We respond to the outstretched hand of the Dancers inviting us to dance to their rhythm.

This passage reminded me the novel, A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle. In the story a fictional creature called a farandolae lives inside human mitochondria. Each one is supposed to “deepen,” or permanently attach themselves to a community all swaying together. This communal movement performs a biological function essential to the life of the human they live inside. One of them wants to dance alone and not attach. The human who is sick because of this choice has a destiny that could vastly affect the entire planet.

Rather than deepening into the Dance I sometimes hold myself apart. Sometimes I dance like I know someone is watching, and judging. I check my performance and the validity of my experience. I focus on things that distract me. Sometimes I seek fulfillment elsewhere, in things where I feel less exposed and committed.

So very often withdrawing to dance alone has to do with
the impulse to despair,
the force of past regret and personal baggage,
selfish conceit, consumerism, or busyness,
surges of resentment and meanness,
a detour into ugliness,
settling for convenient lies and false narratives,
fear and self-doubt,
cynicism and trust issues,
apathy and oblivious disregard
for personal or community wholeness

It’s not that I intentionally choose these things, but they sometimes become default settings in my exhausted routines and striving for fulfillment. I am a product of a series of conflicted theological views that mostly cast God as disappointed and unhappy with me. I always felt a little conflicted about that because my thoughts accepted this theology but when I did experience God emotionally all I ever felt was love.

I have fleeting moments in which I actually feel transcendent awareness of the Love in which I live and move and have my being. Mostly that is simply a better theological idea that has freed me from feeling oppressed and obligated all the time. Still, I don’t feel like I’m dancing with the Divine most of the time.

Maybe the Dance is so beautiful and simple, the community so profoundly familiar that sometimes it may not feel like I’m dancing and it may not feel like I’m dancing with Anyone, but I actually am. Maybe this is why humans seek to create ceremony and set up measures to mark the experience. It seems to me like these very things often keep us from fully experiencing the full abandon of the dance, the unconscious intimacy of being fully integrated into the community that Jesus describes in John 17 as “they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us.”

I think this deepening into the divine Dance is not about conformity or losing identity or satisfying some spiritual lacking, but about love. We become the Love that is God, not as a conscious determined effort to contribute or be good citizens, but as part of the Love-Dance-God force that makes each of us whole and brings wholeness to our communities, relationships, ideas, creativity, emotions, and imagination.

Richard Rohr talked about Russian artist Andre Rublev’s icon called The Trinity painted in the early 14th century. He pointed out there was a missing part of it that some art historians think could have been a mirror placed there so the viewers saw themselves at the table with Father, Son, and Spirit. God wants us to photobomb the Trinity.