Press Center

OUR MISSION

“Love and kindness, radical amazement, peace and generosity!”

Members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives passionately seek to manifest our values in the world by inspiring leaders, influencing legislation and incarnating community.

  • INSPIRING LEADERS – As the Network of Spiritual Progressives, we exist to inspire one another and all people to think and act beyond what’s culturally and politically “realistic.”  Our theme song says, “Don’t let them tell you to be realistic in a world full of war and poverty!”  With some of the most astute and thoughtful intellectuals and activists, we look squarely at what’s really going on and then, with creativity and hope, elevate the conversation beyond what’s ‘realistic’ to envision and embody a spiritual awakening that enlivens minds and hearts and manifests our values.
  • INFLUENCING LEGISLATION – As the Network of Spiritual Progressives, we exist to change public consciousness, the public conversation and public policy.  We advocate and call for the US Congress to ratify the Global Marshal Plan as the only real avenue to homeland security.  We advocate and call for an Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment (ESRA) to our constitution to reclaim our democracy from the corporations whose charters require them to prioritize profits above all other values.  And we stand for peace as both process and outcome, in the Middle East and around the world.
  • INCARNATING COMMUNITY – As the Network of Spiritual Progressives, we exist to catalyze and strengthen the experience of a “parallel universe” of love and kindness in our relationships, organizations, events and communities.  We behold one another.  We  hear and speak the truth in love.  And we involve minds and hearts in intellectual reflection, playful, sacred creativity and purposeful action.

These are the goals at the heart of the Network of Spiritual Progressives.  And they’re goals that run counter to the prevailing political and cultural climate.  The Network of Spiritual Progressives brings to the national conversation a vital voice for moving our country (and world) towards the profound spiritual awakening necessary for us to reverse the environmental destruction and build a world of love and peace. And we can do it!

CORE PROJECTS

Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment (ESRA)

The Environmental and Social Responsibility Amendment (ESRA) to the US Constitution  unequivocally says that:

  1. Corporations are not persons,
  2. the Congress has the obligation to dramatically reduce the role of money in politics and in lobbying for social policies, and
  3. our government must make environmental sustainability a high priority and encourage democratic control of the economy.

Global Marshall Plan (GMP)

The Global Marshall Plan (GMP) is the Network of Spiritual Progressive’s proposal to end poverty and build homeland security through a strategy of generosity. The funding can be provided in two ways:

  1. developed countries contribute a designated portion of GDP or
  2. International financial transactions of over 1,000,000 are taxed at 1%. The Global Marshall Plan aims to repair the global environment and end once and for all poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate education, and inadequate health care.

Peace in the Middle East

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­OUR HISTORY

The Network of Spiritual Progressives grew out of the Tikkun Community that formed around the creation of the Tikkun Magazine.

The NSP was founded based on three basic tenets:

1. Changing the Bottom Line in America

Today, institutions and social practices are judged efficient, rational and productive to the extent that they maximize money and power. That’s the Old Bottom Line. Now Here is the NEW BOTTOM LINE for which we advocate: We believe that they should be judged rational, efficient and productive not only to the extent that they maximize money and power, but also to the extent that they maximize love and caring, ethical and ecological sensitivity and behavior, kindness and generosity, non-violence and peace, and to the extent that they enhance our capacities to respond to other human beings in a way that honors them as embodiments of the sacred, and enhances our capacities to respond to the earth and the universe with awe, wonder and radical amazement.

2. Challenging the misuse of religion, God and Spirit

We cultivate the understanding and the practice both within and about people of faith that a serious commitment to God, religion and spirit should manifest in social activism aimed at peace, universal disarmament, social justice with a preferential option for the needs of the poor and oppressed, a commitment to end poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate education and inadequate health care all around the world, and a commitment to nuclear non-proliferation, environmental protection and repair of the damage done to the planet by 150 years of environmentally irresponsible behavior in industrializing societies.

3. Challenging the many anti-religious and anti-spiritual assumptions and behaviors that have increasingly become part of the liberal culture

We challenge as well the extreme individualism and me-first-ism that permeate all parts of the global market culture.
We call for people in social change movements to carefully distinguish between legitimate critiques of religious organizations and practices, and the illegitimate generalizing of those criticisms to all religious or spiritual beliefs and practices. We lift up the stories of social change elevated and empowered by spiritual strength – from the progressive summer camps that fueled the civil rights movement, to the communitarian aspirations of the 30s and 60s, to the women’s spirituality movement and many more.
We help social change activists and others in the liberal and progressive culture become more conscious of and less afraid to affirm their own inner spiritual yearnings.  And we invite all to reconstitute a visionary progressive social movement that incorporates the spiritual dimension – including healing, caring, creativity, community, interdependence and joy.

OUR FOUNDERS

We were founded by three of the most provocative public intellectuals active in the area of religion and American culture.

Rabbi Michael LernerRabbi Michael Lerner is the editor of TIKKUN magazine, rabbi of Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley and San Francisco, CA, and the author of eleven books, including most recently The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right.
Sister Joan ChittisterSister Joan Chittister, a Benedictine nun and longtime social justice advocate, is the author of more than thirty books, including Called to Question: A Spiritual Memoir. In addition to co-chairing the Network of Spiritual Progressives, she is the executive director of BenetVision, a research center and clearinghouse for spiritual resources.
Dr. Cornell WestCornel West is currently a professor of religion at Princeton University. Among his several books are Jews and Blacks: A Dialogue on Race, Religion, and Culture in America (with Rabbi Michael Lerner) and Democracy Matters: Winning the Fight Against Imperialism.