Valerie and I recently attended a Father Richard Rohr conference on the Trinity in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Father Richard is a Roman Catholic, modern day mystic and popular spiritual teacher whose influence reaches across denominations and faith traditions. Over the years that I have been reading his books, he has helped articulate spiritual experiences for me that I have intuitively known to be true, but haven’t yet put words to. His latest book “The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your Transformation,” is very readable and is what the conference we attended was built around. Another speaker at the conference, who is also a mystic and modern teacher of the Christian Wisdom tradition, was the The Rev’d Cynthia Bourgeault. Cynthia is an Episcopal priest, spiritual teacher and author. Two of her latest books that have been resonating with me are: “The Heart of Centering Prayer: Nondual Christianity in Theory and Practice; and “The Holy Trinity and the Law of Three: Discovering the Radical Truth at the Heart of Christianity.” What Richard can put in more popular language, Cynthia can put in current theological and scientific research language. Cynthia is simply a brilliant theologian and teacher of Christian meditation.
Being a fan of both Rohr and Bourgeault, my being drawn to the conference was to meet both of these inspirational teachers of the Christian contemplative tradition. There was a third conference speaker of which I had no real interest in. Paul Young is the author of the popular novel “The Shack.” The book was used in our parish reading group at one point, but I never did read it. Because he was going to be one of the speakers at the conference, and the movie “The Shack” was released, I thought I should at least see the movie, as it might tell me more about him and why he was invited to speak at this conference on the Trinity.
Acknowledging yet another ego wound in having pre-judged Paul Young as a conference speaker, I am so thankful that I did watch the movie and that he was a presenter. Young calls himself a “recovering evangelical.” He comes from a Christian mission background that was fundamentalistic. He grew up with an abusive missionary father, and a god that was judging and punitive. The Shack is a story that reflects the healing of his past, and his coming to know the healing flow of the life of the Trinity.
Rohr spoke about popular and understandable Trinitarian theology. Bourgeault spoke more to the intellect in current theological and scientific research and conversations about the Trinity. Young spoke to the emotions and the healing truth of entering more deeply into the flow of the life of the Trinity. Each of the speakers brought different and diverse perspectives to the same Trinitarian truth that is in the DNA of the cosmos, and is also our deepest identity, made in the loving, relational image of God. Jesus calls us to follow him into this eternal truth.