Author Tuesday, author Tuesday! You know what that means: YOU have the chance to get to know a friend of mine, a friend who happens to have written a book the rest of the world needs to see. I can’t wait for you to get to know Mike Morrell, co-author with Richard Rohr of The Divine Dance. It’s an honor to have Mike with us today, so show him some love by leaving a comment or sharing this post. And, win a copy of this GEM of a book!
Tell us a bit about yourself, will you? Hi Cara – thank you for having me here today. Sure thing! I’m a husband and dad to two amazing girls; I’m a voracious reader and incorrigible nerd; I’ve spent my life pursuing God and community, to some fascinating, inspiring, and occasionally-heartbreaking ends.
Vocationally, this has formed me into a story-teller and party-thrower; I enjoy learning, living, and telling better stories about God, us, and our astonishing world.
You can learn more about me here, and the next parties I’m throwing are Wisdom Camp at the Wild Goose Festival in July, and a special Experiencing the Trinity workshop in June for the Servant Leadership School in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Let’s talk about your book: what, in a nutshell, is it about anyway? In a tiny nutshell, The Divine Dance: The Trinity and Your Transformation is predicated on the idea that our two main cultural images of God are running out of steam. These are, historically, the Puritan-influenced “Zeus” god who will smite us just as soon as look at us, and the more recent pop-culture-and-prosperity-televangelist-influenced “Seuss” god who, like the Cat in the Hat, serves as a kind of hyped-up wish-fulfillment genie to give us whatever we want.
If we look into our own hearts, the lives of our friends and neighbors, and expand out a bit to the research, these tired images of god are two sides of the same depreciating coin. These visions of divinity are neither credible nor compelling, and people are abandoning any sort of faith in droves.
By contrast, Fr. Richard Rohr and I paint a picture of God that is Biblically resonant and experientially validated: God as Trinity.
Do tell, what was the inspiration behind The Divine Dance? Well: About decade ago, my own spiritual journey was profoundly impacted by two Trinitarian literary expressions: The Shack by my friend Paul Young, and these amazing audio messages from Richard Rohr and Cynthia Bourgeault, called The Divine Dance and The Shape of God. The combined impact of these messages sent me back to the Bible, to a ton of theological and mystical writings, and back to my own prayer life. Instead of seeing prayer as primarily something I, as an isolated being, offer to a distant God, I began to see prayer as an intimate fellowship of the Three-in-One that I was drawn into – praying to the Father through the Son in the power of the Spirit, to use traditional language. Bringing this understanding to my practice of Centering Prayer – a contemporary iteration of an ancient Christian prayer form – changed my life, an experience I recount in detail in this Divine Dance Bonus Chapter I give away on my blog.
Having been so profoundly moved by the message of these three, and having noted that Paul Young (of course) was already published, and that Cynthia’s material from the Shape of God conference had already been turned into an excellent volume, The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three, I felt compelled to help Richard’s contribution see the printed page. At the behest of my good friend (and Whitaker House’s acquisitions editor) Don Milam, I approached Richard to see if he’d be open to collaborating in bringing his message to new life. To my delight and gratitude, he was just as interested as I was.
How do you hope readers will be changed by your words? What I’m discovering among my friends, and those whom I work with, is that “God” for so many of them is essentially a distant deity or a saccharine genie. They spend years trying to make their relationship to this image work for them, but they usually end up opting-out altogether, because it’s simply unreal.
What I want my friends to know…what I want any reader to know…is that there is an alternative:
- A God Who Is as available to you as breathing.
- A God Who Is expansive, yes, but in a way that offers mutuality, vulnerability, and unconditional presence.
- A God Who looks like Jesus and thus doesn’t look like our common religious projections.
I want readers to consider that a God Who Is Love is a God Who Is Relationship – a God Who Is (yes!) a Dance – dancing all creation, moment-by-moment, so of course we’re included.
Becoming conscious of this Dance allows us to flow with it more fully; in writing the book, we don’t leave this flowing to happenstance or vague wishful thinking: We include a number of exercises in the book (and I include a few more in the bonus chapter) that help readers ground this grace in the grit of their daily lives.
Lest we forget to ask, how have YOU been changed by writing the book? As I was able to express to Fr. Richard, working with the raw material of his spoken words and translating them to the written word was a precious kind of lectio divina for me. Lectio is an ancient Christian mediation form where we’re invited to savor the words of Scripture and other sacred texts, taking them less as information and more as soul-formation. Marinating in these words, formed in his many decades of prayer and service, really served to ground and deepen my own experience of God as the Three-in-One and All-in-all.
For me, this experience becomes less about a discrete practice (say, “meditation” or “sacred reading”) and more about the fruit of a shifted way of seeing. This new way of seeing my daily life as the temple and template of the One God manifest in and as The Many has changed the way I relate to my family, my friends, and even (perhaps most especially) my enemies!
If God is the Light of the world, then we’re refracted light. This refracted light is due high honor – however much shadow shows up in our seeing.
How and where can we find you on the internet? I hang out all over the Internet! I share my very best writing and compelling reflections from others via MikeMorrell.org.
As I’ve mentioned, I offer a Divine Dance Bonus Chapter that previews the main book, tells more of my story, and offers additional exercises, right here. I send out an Opti-Mystic Meditations email curation that contains the best of the blog.
Sometimes I drop into 3-D space, too. I’ve already mentioned the Experiencing the Trinity Workshop and Wisdom Camp as coming-soon spaces where we can connect in person; later this year both Fr. Richard and I will be presenting at this singular gathering, the Gospel of Peace Conference in Santa Fe. And I’m always up to something cool with the Integral Theology collective Presence International – I encourage you to claim your free seven-video Integral Theology introduction right here.
And of course for today, you can find me right here in the comments section.
I hope to see you soon: Whether here in cyberspace, the printed page, or at a story-telling party jam! Godspeed in all your journeys.
Well, I don’t know about you, but seeing as I’ve only read a couple pages of the book thus far, I am SO excited to enter into the rest of The Divine Dance. It looks soundly refreshing and theologically nerdy enough for my taste! (Plus, I was already huge fans of Richard and Mike separately, so what’s not to love about their corroboration?) Leave Mike some love in the comment section below, as he’ll respond to comments directly. And if you want to win a copy of the book, be sure to add a “pick me!” comment, or something of the sort. Contest ends at midnight on Sunday, May 14th.
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