Inward Activism and Outward Prayer

How does God’s nonviolent Presence within empower us for nonviolent relationship with self, others, and the larger political world?

We are called to lives of faithful witness, yet we often find ourselves burdened with conflicting theological and psychological ideas; we are confronted with a confusing array of spiritual practices, and our energies are drained by multiple and competing demands for our time and attention. We wonder if all these voices will ever be able to sing in harmony.

Come and explore the transformative power of nonviolence for personal and political life. Nonviolence can inform us theologically, psychologically, spiritually, and politically, as we move from systems of domination and control toward relational systems that invite integration. Join us for a time of theoretical and experiential sharing as we explore how different the world looks when viewed through a nonviolent lens.

This workshop is divided into four modules:

  1. Nonviolence: Theory and Practice: First we look at the history and strategies of nonviolence and its extraordinary power for social transformation. Why does it work? What does nonviolence teach us about systemic power vs. domination power, and how does it revolutionize our understanding of the world?
  2. Inward Activism: Theology, Psychology, and Spirituality: When we apply nonviolent models of social transformation to the inner world, we are invited into an understanding of psychological and spiritual growth that differs dramatically from what is offered by more traditional psychological and theological models. We can become partners with God in our own inward transformation as well as genuinely hopeful and empowered agents for change in the world.
  3. Outward Prayer: Discerning Call and Living a Transforming Life: Once it becomes clear how profoundly and compassionately we are accompanied by God through our own journeys of transformation, it is easy to see how deeply our outward work in the world can be guided and sustained by God. World-work is also prayer-work, a life’s pilgrimage lived in the Presence.
  4. Taking it Home: Prayer, Discernment, and Practice: We are each utterly unique in our life circumstances, in our personality formation, in the degrees to which we have been inspired and/or wounded by the religious ideas to which we have been exposed. Each personality is like an intricate lock that awaits the Encounter that will open and release the treasures of the soul. Taking the theory of the first three sessions into personal practice, this session offers a series of exercises designed to help us to find the particular way in which God unveils us to ourselves.

If therapy is a kind of nonviolence for the soul, then nonviolence is a kind of therapy for the world. Social and personal transformation, to be lasting, effective, and grounded, must proceed from an ongoing and committed practice of attending to the revolutionary work of God within.