I offer what’s immediately below as prologue for my engagement of The Divine Dance, which wholly resonates with my holonic pentametric, set forth below, because I rather precisely fashioned it in extensive dialogue with Fr. Rohr’s teachings over four decades, especially as fashioned by others whose writings have profoundly influenced me. It represents, in fact, my lifelong attempt to articulate the systematic and philosophical theologies (orthodoxic) that seem to me to be implicit in the explicit theophanic teachings of his formative and contemplative spiritualities (orthorelational, orthocommunal, orthopathic and orthopraxic). This site employs both Rohr & Morrell’s Divine Dance and Tom Oord’s Uncontrolling Love as foils to help me deepen and better articulate my own panSEMIOentheism.
Older influences include Thomas Merton, Don Gelpi, the American Pragmatists: Peirce, James and Dewey (as recently appropriated by Terry Deacon and Ursula Goodenough), Charles Hartshorne, Jack Haught and their ilk.
More recently, I’ve been influenced by the approach of those who inhabit communities nurtured by the likes of Mike Morrell and Tripp Fuller, by the thinking of Brian McLaren, Thomas Oord, Catherine Keller, John Thatamanil and Philip Clayton. No one’s influenced me more, though, than Amos Yong, the preeminent authority on the Spirit, Holy.
This is all to point out that I knew before reading the Divine Dance that Rohr’s approach to the Trinity with Morrell would be neither some ad hoc poetic musing nor some fanciful flight of a superficial theological imagination. Rather, I am poised, here, to harvest the fruits that will have emerged organically from a theological crop that’s been long cultivated in the ground of
Scotistic intuitions (in continuity with Peirce),
Franciscan sensibilities (often a minority account within larger traditions),
Patristic outlooks (apokatastasis and practical universalism, oh my!),
polydoxic sophiologies (others are on efficacious wisdom trajectories?! e.g. Gregory of Palamas),
a generous ecclesiology (preferential option for the marginalized, even),
a pluralistic pneumatology (the Spirit ‘s also over there?! in her?!),
a Goldilocks anthropology — neither too pessimistic (e.g. total depravity) nor optimistic (ergo, no facile syncretism, no insidious indifferentism, no false irenicism) and, paramount,
a contemplative stance that affirms a most robust, participatory relationality, beyond a mere propositional, problem-solving preoccupation.
None of this wouldn’t a priori be inconsistent either with various Arminian, Molinist or Open approaches, with various logical defenses or evidential theodicies to problems of evil (whether Augustine, Plantinga or Oord), with various creation accounts (ex nihilo, profundis, multitudinae, tehomic) or various wisdom traditions vis a vis their shared soteriologic trajectory of human authenticity (an implict pneumatological, Christological inclusivism via Lonergan’s transcendental imperatives and conversions) and diverse sophiologic trajectories of sustained authenticity (via being in love).
The late Don Gelpi, SJ had a saying: “orthopraxy authenticates orthodoxy.”
Gelpi had Lonergan’s conception of authenticity in mind as he so related “right practice” to “right belief. ” And Gelpi expanded Lonergan’s authenticity to include what he called five “conversions.” Those conversions refer to intellectual , affective, moral, social and religious transformations. We might, then, think of them, respectively, in terms of
right belonging and
Following Lonergan and immersed in the pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce, Gelpi would offer that any authentication of the various dogma, practices, liturgies, rituals and doctrines — not just of Christianity, but — of any of the world’s great traditions, as well as indigenous religions, could be cashed out in terms of how well they foster ongoing human transformation.
Now, this doesn’t invoke that vulgar pragmatism of “if it’s useful, then it’s true,” but it does suggest that, wherever, whenever and in whomever we witness
right belonging ,
right behaving and/or
right relating, then we will more likely also encounter
It’s no accident, then, that systematic theology will typically address five integral human value-realizations:
1) truth via creed, as articulated in beliefs about reality’s first and last things, in what we call an eschatology, which orients us;
2) beauty via cult-ivation, as celebrated in life’s liturgies, rituals and devotions, in what we call a soteriology, which sanctifies us;
3) goodness via code, as preserved in codifications and norms, in an incarnational or sacramental economy, which nurtures and heals us;
4) unity via community, as enjoyed in familial and faith fellowships, in what we call an ecclesiology, which empowers and unites us; and
5) freedom via contemplation, as realized through radical self-transcendence, in a given sophiology, which will ultimately save and liberate us.
One can authenticate a given systematic theology, whether its implicit or explicit expression, in orthodoxic, orthopathic, orthopraxic, orthocommunal and orthorelational terms, discerning how well this or that creed, cult, code, community or contemplation fosters intellectual, affective, moral, social and religious conversions, respectively
orienting a people’s beliefs to logos and for truth,
sanctifying their desires in pathos and for beauty,
engendering nurturing and healing behaviors in ethos and for goodness,
empowering and uniting them in cosmos and for unity, and
saving and liberating them in mythos and for freedom.
A proper theological critique thus will address eschatology, soteriology, sacramentology, ecclesiology and sophiology, as well as a theological anthropology. Christian approaches will add a paterology, pneumatology, Christology, missiology and distinct apologetics.
Reality thus presents a fivefold donative or “giving” nature as reflected in what I call an holonic pentametric, which includes
1) a pentalectical axiology of the gifts: truth, beauty, goodness, unity and freedom, which when integrally converged gift love, itself;
2) a pentapartite anthropology of the gifted: intellectual, affective, moral, social and religious as reflected in logos, pathos, ethos, cosmos and mythos;
3) a pentalogical epistemology of receiving: descriptive (e.g. sciences), evaluative (e.g. cultures), normative (e.g. philosophies), interpretive (e.g. religions) and contemplative (e.g. the robustly relational);
4) a pentadic phenomenology of givens: intraobjective identity of unitary being, intrasubjective integrity of the unified self, intersubjective intimacy of our unitive strivings, interobjective indeterminacy of an ultimate unicity and transjective necessity of the ens necessarium; and
5) a pentatarian theology of givers: the eschatologically omniscient, soteriologically omnipathic, sacramentally omnibenevolent, ecclesiologically omnipresent and sophiologically omnipotent — all variously (re)conceived in a trinatarian panentheism (and/or revised classical theism) to refer to divine necessities of an esse naturale and divine contingencies of an esse intentionale.
relevant distinctions per my intuition:
essential – eternalities & neccessities
conceptual – equivocal, analogical, referential, descriptive, logical
modal adequacy – univocal predications, whether bracketed or explicit, degrees of realization vis a vis emergent complexities
formal – regularities & probabilities
modal a/temporality – 1ns, 2ns, 3ns, including haecceities w/grammars related to noncontradiction and excluded middle