This course will explore 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 and troubling context of current world events, we will look to the example of “mystic-°©‐activists” from diverse cultures and faith traditions for insight and inspiration. Readings and multimedia materials will include Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Indigenous sources.
The model of “mystic-°©‐activism” refers those individuals (whether self-°©‐identified as mystics or not) whose recognition of the unity of all life, and whose love for the Divine in all creation, compelled and sustained their work of peace and justice-°©‐making. Online class discussions will identify key principles, consider areas of common ground and uniqueness among those studied, and students will be encouraged to incorporate any practices and perspectives that may enrich their own lifework. The ethical implications of the mystic experience and worldview will be a focus throughout.
All of us who work and serve and struggle in the world require a regular discipline of, as Howard Thurman put it, “watering our roots” to replenish the inner spirit. Through a holistic approach of both heart and head, we will engage specific practices to nourish and sustain an ongoing commitment to anti-°©‐oppression work and ministerial service.