I recently connected with writer, speaker, pastor, podcaster, coach, mama, wife, and activist-theologian Cara Meredith. We talk about The Divine Dance, the writing life, and the experiences that change us.
Let’s dive into Cara’s questions, shall we?
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.
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?