Prophetic Empathy & Radical Love
WHAT WE KNOW:
- Membership in white supremacy groups is on the rise as are violent attacks by those who identify as white supremacists
- We are facing environmental catastrophes of unprecedented proportions and the potential destruction of the life-support system of our planet
- Refugees, immigrants, and undocumented workers are facing greater threats to their security and safety
- The gap between the wealthiest 1% of people and the remaining 99% continues to rise
- People of all ages, races, genders, ethnicities, and religions are feeling more fearful and distressed
WHAT WE NEED TO DO:
We have a strategy to turn the tide: build an inclusive social change movement that is warm, welcoming, and loving, and that puts forth a positive vision of the world we want
HOW WE CAN DO IT:
- Engage in political conversations with prophetic empathy and radical love
- Encourage social change organizations to put forth a positive vision of the world they want and visionary proposals to get there
- Help the Left bridge the gap between identity politics which often divides people and class issues and universal values which help unite people across differences
Whether your focus is on creating conditions in which liberals and progressives could win the 2020 elections or on longer-term goals of societal and environmental transformation, if you want real change, this training is for you!
In this six-session training (click here to read the weekly breakdown) by the Network of Spiritual Progressives and Tikkun magazine led by Cat Zavis, you will be in an environment in which your desire for a loving, caring, just, and sustainable world will be embraced and encouraged. You will be given the tools you need to bring that vision into the world through concrete proposals and programs that can create lasting systemic change.
In this training, you will gain the following skills:
- How to listen to people who do not share a progressive worldview without criticism and blame
- How to express empathy and understanding for contrary points of view without necessarily agreeing with those views
- How to identify the needs (social, political, spiritual) of the person who expresses a position with which you don’t necessarily agree
- How to express the vision of a world based on a New Bottom Line
- Understanding of how the Right attracts people who are not racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Semitic, Islamophobic and whose economic interests are with the Left – and how to win them back
- How to take these ideas into local social change organizations, or religious or spiritual communities, seek endorsements for proposals from elected officials, and raise these issues with your friends
By the end of the training we hope that you will become active in one of the two following ways (we will discuss this in greater detail during the training):
- Join the efforts of the Network of Spiritual Progressives to build a movement that seeks a fundamental transformation of our society sufficient to save the environment, democratize our economy, and replace a society based on selfishness and materialism with a society based on love, compassion, and generosity?
- Commit to share what you learn in our training with some other social change organization(s)?
The training is conducted on Zoom, a video conferencing platform that allows us to see one another and break into small groups. It is possible to participate via computer, phone, or other device from anywhere.
You will learn about the psychological and spiritual suffering that people experience living in our society and how to help people both understand and overcome it, strategies to create meaningful and lasting systemic change, and skills in empathic listening and speaking that will help you reshape the liberal and progressive world so that it can be more effective in reaching across the divide to speak to those who didn’t vote in 2016 or to that section of the Trump voters who are not racist, sexist, homophobic, Islamophobic, or anti-Semitic. Sessions will include readings, role-plays, listening to role-plays of Rabbi Lerner and Cat Zavis, group practice, and large and small group discussion. This training will only work if you commit time outside these sessions to do the homework that includes outreach exercises, readings, and watching videos. We will provide buddy groups for folks in the training so you have ongoing support and engagement with others between the weekly calls.
Registration for our Spiritual Activism Training is now closed. To register interest for the training, and receive updates on future trainings, please click here.
Session 1: Spiritual Activism: Overview of Core Concepts
This first session provides an understanding of how we got here and a vision to move forward. This week we will share the concept of two worldviews and how we can build a diverse social change movement infused with a spiritual worldview. We will also practice listening to enhance our capacity to deepen our awareness about how we listen and how that impacts how we choose to speak and respond.
Session 2: Strategy to Transform Our Society and Attract People to a Mass Moral Movement for Love and Justice
The second session focuses on the psychological trauma created by our society on a personal and systemic level and what we can do about it. We will discuss the strategy needed to transform society and how we can attract people to our movement whose economic interests are best supported by liberal and progressive candidates but who vote for candidates who promote division and hatred.
We discuss the spiritual crisis facing our country and the role of spiritual leaders and activists, as well as the role that spiritual activism can play in transforming our world. We share why it is important to bring a moral voice to political discourse and how to do so effectively. In addition to the above, we practice skills in self-compassion and self-empathy to deepen self-awareness so you can better understand your own feelings and needs.
Session 3: Empathic Listening: Love the Stranger
In session three, we will gain a deeper understanding of what attracted voters to Trump, learn to deepen our empathic listening, and begin to explore solutions and strategies that can help us build the world we all seek.
We will read the words of Trump supporters themselves and use this as an opportunity to deepen our empathic listening skills to have a better understanding of the meaning articulated behind the statements, policies, positions, and approaches of others. Are we able to hear their deep pains and sorrows, understand their needs, and demonstrate that understanding as a path to connection?
When we are able to empathically connect with others, we begin to see our shared humanity, our common needs, our collective pain, and our deep yearnings. Our differences begin to breakdown and we find we are actually more alike than we thought. We see that we all yearn for loving connections, lives of meaning and purpose, mutual recognition, and a sense of belonging. From that place, we can begin to explore solutions and strategies that can help us build the world we all seek.
Session 4: Grieving the World that Is, Envisioning the World We Want, Understanding the Problem with Global Capitalism and Possible Solutions
In session four we talk about how capitalism impacts us in unrecognized ways and move into a powerful exercise in grieving the world that is and envisioning the world we want. We believe that grieving is the foundation out of which healing, repair, and transformation grow.
Through this exercise in grieving, participants see the value in allowing themselves to genuinely and deeply touch into their grief and sorrow about what is as a foundation and launching pad for envisioning the world they want and feeling inspired to take meaningful, long-term action to build that world.
We share a critique of global capitalism and discuss the urgency of imposing ethical and moral standards in our government, workplaces, professions, and schools. We help participants understand the value of promoting concrete policies and strategies that may seem “unrealistic” at this time, yet are part of what it means to engage in social and political activism from a spiritual perspective.
Sessions 5 & 6: Sharing Our Visions, Exploring Strategies, Taking Action, Building the Movement
In week 5, we begin to look closely at two strategies that are concrete ways of bringing the New Bottom Line to life through proposals and practice articulating these strategies and NSP concepts and ideas to bear on specific issues.
In week 6, we will explore to bring this work into the world through various strategies, including creating local chapters, professional and workplace groups, and sharing these ideas with local community and social change organizations, and religious and spiritual communities.
The final session is about fully integrating the lessons into a vision going forward. We will invite you to share your experiences of taking this work into your community and building a local spiritually progressive social change movement. We will celebrate you and your vision going forward, and end our time together with a closing circle.
- $150 for non-members
- $85 for NSP members who have contributed $50 or more within the past year
- $60 for students, senior, and low-income individuals
Not yet a member? Click here to Join the NSP for $50.00 and receive a reduction on the course fee and a free one-year online subscription to Tikkun magazine.
Sliding Scale: Please note that we want this training to be available and accessible to everyone! If the cost of the training would be prohibitive, please contact Chris at email@example.com or 510-644-1200 in order to arrange sliding scale payment.
Group Rate: We want to encourage you to register for the training with others in your community because we know that having a cohort of people in your community who participate together will make it much more likely for you to actually become active and engaged in building a spiritually progressive social change movement both locally and nationally. Therefore, if you are able to get 3 or more people to join the training with you from your community, we are willing to provide a group rate of $100 per person. The group rate applies only to those would otherwise be registering at the full, non-NSP member rate ($150) since NSP members, seniors, and students already receive a discount. To discuss the details and make arrangements to do so, please contact Chris at firstname.lastname@example.org or 510-644-1200.