I’m currently reading Richard Rohr and Mike Morrell’s beautiful book, The Divine Dance. Back in 2005 when I was a 2nd year student at Lee University studying theology I asked my professor if there were books written that didn’t just explain what Trinity is but unpack why and how understanding God as triune will change your life. His answer was that books like that need to be written. The Divine Dance is that book!
A point that Rohr and Morrell make early on in the book is that “God is relationship itself.” God is not just some being who happens to be in a relationship. Rather, if we want to put a name to that stuff (my professor taught me that stuff is a great theological word) that makes up God, that stuff’s name would be Relationship. And therefore to be like God – to be holy – is to be moving towards relationship at all cost.
When I relate this to my addiction, and any addiction, really, I can name it as sin because it isolates me. It cuts me out of relationship. Rohr writes,
Sin is the state of being closed down, shut off, blocked and thus resisting the eternal flow that we’re meant to be….Sin is always a refusal of mutuality and a closing down into separateness.
The antidote to isolation is a willingness to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is something I tend to avoid because I fear that if someone really saw me – the real me – they would leave me. Or if they didn’t leave they would merely tolerate me (which is often worse than abandonment!). Hear what Rohr and Morrell say about vulnerablity. It’s beautiful…
Did you ever imagine that what we call ‘vulnerability’ might just be the key to ongoing growth? In my experience, healthily vulnerable people use every occasion to expand, change, and grow. Yet it is a risky position to live undefended, in a kind of constant openness to the other – becuase it would mean others could sometimes acutally wound you (from vulnus, ‘wound’). But only if we choose to take this risk do we also allow the exact opposite possibility: the other might also gift you, free you, and even love you.
But it is a felt risk every time
Rohr goes on to remind us that God is vulnerable in God’s self, and towards all of us. The cross is the ultimate example of this, of course. And we are invited to be vulnerable every time Jesus reaches out towards us and asks that all important question:
Do you want to be healed?
If I am to answer ‘yes’ to that question (and I have to answer it every day), it will require me to be vulnerable. It will require me admitting that I don’t have it all together and that I need someone to save me. Shutting down when things get hard with my girlfriend or raising my children or hiding in shame from God until I feel more worthy will not bring healing but more sickness. Salvation comes in relationship, in my willingess to be seen and received as I am, not as I should be.
I’m grateful tonight for a program of recovery that offers tools for those of us who have long made it a habit to isolate and separate. We admitted we were powerless is the beginning of the First Step and the first step towards vulnerablity, or, as I think Rohr would call it, holiness.
Lord, make us holy, as you are holy.