Mysticism and Social Change

This course explores the powerful synergy between mystic spirituality and social activism. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote, “Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.” In the urgent context of current world concerns, we will look to the example of “mystic-activists” from diverse cultures and faith traditions for insight and inspiration. Readings, audio/video resources, and class explorations will include Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Indigenous sources. Both pastors and prophetic activists require regular replenishment of the inner spirit as the essential “breathing in” to balance the “breathing out” of our work in the world. Through a holistic approach of head and heart, we will consider specific practices to nourish and sustain us in our ongoing commitment to anti-oppression work, justice-making, and ministerial service.

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