I’m convinced that the greatest dis-ease facing humanity right now isn’t lack of innovation or good intentions, but our profound and painful sense of disconnection.
Disconnection from God, certainly, but also from ourselves (our bodies and authentic essence), from each other, and from creation.
We see the fruits of this alienation in political corruption, ecological devastation, war and violence, fearing and even hating each other because of our differences — whether in gender, race, religion, or sexual and relational orientations. There has to be a better way forward as a species, as a people.
This is why I’m so passionate about cultivating Opti-Mystic spirituality, right where we live. Far from being a niche hobby for the bored and affluent, mystical flourishing is our birthright and our necessity.
“Mysticism,” Evelyn Underhill said, “is the art of union with reality.” Our world needs to be reminded of this interdependence, our inherent union with what is.
“What is,” aka Reality, has already gifted us everything we need to actually know connection, and to enjoy what Jesus calls the abundant life. Living from this reality is a matter of what Dallas Willard called the renovation of the heart, which for many of us begins with releasing inaccurate and unhelpful depictions of God.
What images come to your mind and heart when you think of ‘God’?
Visions of an angry, distant, moral scorekeeper — like a Greek ‘high’ god?
Or maybe a supernatural trickster handing out favors to those who say the right prayer — a kind of cosmic Cat-in-the-Hat?
For many of us, the images of God we’ve been handed have become simply unbelievable.
That’s why I collaborated with Franciscan friar and beloved teacher Fr. Richard Rohr to write The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your Transformation. In its pages, we offer a compelling alternative vision of God — one hiding in plain sight in sacred Scripture.
Rather than a deity cast in the image of Zeus or Dr. Seuss, we dive into the Bible and the living spirituality of our most loving and service-oriented mystics, poets, prophets, and sages to illuminate an alternative orthodoxy: in the Christian tradition’s deepest revelation, God is revealed to be a Community…a Friendship…a Dance.
I believe this difficult-to-grok Christian experience of Trinity can help us unlearn bad relationship habits and cultivate new ones, teaching us how to live in creative collaboration, valuing and honoring our differences while also serving each other (and the planet) with humility and compassion.
The Divine Dance is a meditation on how we can begin to live into a new reality — based on connection instead of alienation, interconnectedness instead of walled-off autonomy.
When our book first released it seemed to touch our culture’s collective heart, reaching five bestseller lists and garnering sweet affirmations from Brené Brown, Bono, and many others. And while book publishing (like all contemporary media) moves on with breathtaking speed, this tome still holds a special place in my heart. If you haven’t read it yet, I believe it could help set the tone for your new year. And if you have read it, I have a hunch you might agree with me, and are already thinking of others who would benefit from this gift.
It’s for this reason that I’ve decided to open up my own personal reserve of harder-to-find hardcover editions of The Divine Dance, and offer them in my first-ever ‘Cyber Monday’ sale. It feels like, after all we’ve been through as a planetary culture these past few years, it’s time.
These beautiful hardcovers (inlaid with a full-color print of Rublev’s Hospitality of Abraham icon in both the front and back) retail for $24, but I’ll sign your copy and mail it to you directly for $22. I’m also happy to personalize any copies, dedicating them to you or your loved ones.
You may order a single copy, five copies for friends and family, or ten copies for your faith community or reading group.
I have 199 copies on-hand. I’ll keep these available at this price for as long as they last.
Note: I’ll fulfill each order speedily as I receive them. Ideally, they’ll be your way before Christmas. But I’ll be sending them Media Mail, so there are no guarantees.
If you’d like to explore The Divine Dance for yourself or your loved ones this holiday season and new year, please select your copies here.
And…do you know what pairs nicely with a whole new vision of God?
A whole new way to read the Bible.
A number of you had questions about the highly unique Bibliotheca Bible set I featured last newsletter, and I wanted to share more about it. It’s become my go-to way of reading Scripture when I’m wanting to encounter the text in a spacious, uncluttered way. I find its gorgeous layout, design, and translation help me clear away preconceived notions and come to this sacred library, anew.
In essence, Bibliotheca is a reader’s bible Bible designed to invite you into an ancient, nearly extinct way of encountering the scriptures.
The complete contents of the Bible—including the Deuterocanonical books (Apocrypha)—are divided across five clothbound volumes, each the size of a modern novel. The text is presented in a single column on each spacious, classically proportioned page. No chapter or verse numbers! No cross-references or section headers. And the translation, a scholar-reviewed update of the ASV (1901), is exceptionally poetic and literal.
As I look at my own copy, open on my desk as I write this, it calls to mind the unassuming elegance of the oldest extant biblical manuscripts like the Great Isaiah Scroll:
Unlike a typical reference Bible that looks, feels, and, far too often, functions like a dictionary, these lavish books enable one to engage with the biblical library as a vast and diverse treasury of literature—the way it was experienced by its earliest readers, long before these sacred texts were ever compiled into a single volume or dissected into chapters and verses.
Since its publication in 2014, Bibliotheca has helped tens of thousands of readers engage with the Bible in this fresh yet distinctly ancient way.
Here are a few reader testimonials pulled from Bibliotheca’s website:
“Six years later, here I am, still using this set nearly every day for lectio divina. I love everything about it: the translation, the font, the layout of the page, the lack of clutter, the binding, everything. It’s the ideal reader’s Bible and beats the competition by cubits and fathoms!”
“Finished Isaiah yesterday! Best read-through of that book I have ever had—and it’s one of my favorite books of the Bible. Simply superb reading experience from all angles … the updated ASV reads so beautifully…”
“I find myself getting lost in the story much more often with Bibliotheca. I never pick it up passively because it’s not a passive Bible … In short, it has reinvigorated my love of scripture.”
As I mentioned last time, I’m told there aren’t many sets left in stock for this holiday season, just a small number waiting to be gifted to a few lucky souls. So order now if you’d like to have this exquisite gift under the Christmas tree.
But if you don’t mind waiting and would like to avail yourself of steeply discounted pricing, consider pre-ordering a set from the next print run, set to be delivered sometime next spring or summer. Plus, take an additional $10 off any pre-ordered set when you use code OPTIMYSTIC at checkout.
Visit the website to learn more: bibliotheca.co
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