Leadership Training Program

LEADERSHIP PROGRAM IN SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM
FOR A JUST, SACRED AND SUSTAINABLE WORLD
(PROPOSED START DATE: 2011)

Leadership in Spiritual Activism: A One Year, Educational and Training Program.
The Institute for Spiritual Activism provides a one-year, non-degree Spiritual Activism Training Program for those who aspire to study the link between spirituality and politics between the desire for authentic human recognition and of the natural world that underlies all human relations and the ways that this desire is manifested and often distorted in our social, political, ecological, and economic life. The purpose of the Training is to create a new generation of leaders and activists who understand that social change requires more than expanding economic benefits and legal and political rights but also a change in the very inter-subjective and psychospiritual environment that have shaped existing conditions and undergirded them with a Fear of the Other that must itself be transcended if real change is to be deep, comprehensive and lasting. Students graduating from the program will receive a certificate in Spiritual Activism at the end of the first year, and will be invited to participate in our second year Fellowship program in which they will have a spiritual-activist social placement and engage with Institute on a monthly basis to reflect on the spiritual-political impact of their work.

The Leadership Training in Spiritual Activism offers a curriculum that emphasizes four main areas: 1) The History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism, in which students will learn the ideas of thinkers and activists like Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel, Sojourner Truth, Dorothy Day, Joanna Macy, Julia Butterfly Hill, Wynona Laduke and others who have helped to build a new spiritually-grounded paradigm as well as the ideas of Michael Lerner, Peter Gabel , Marina Sitrin, Mutombo Mpanya, Crispin Shelley and others who have shaped this Training Program and who have built upon these ideas; 2) Approaches to Healing from Alienation and for Manifesting Effective Moral Presence, in which students will engage in theoretical and experientially-based learning designed to explore “what healing will look like’ in the parallel universe and bring forth within each student the capacity for grounded and embodied Presence and how to make that very capacity an organizing principle capable of speaking to the longing for authenticity in those around us trapped in today’s often artificial and distancing world; 3) The Spiritual Foundations of Public Policy, in which students will learn how to rethink key issues in social and environmental policy to be able to articulate the underlying moral core of policy issues that creates the capacity to move others to action in support of progressive and communitarian solutions to human and environmental problems; and 4) The Necessity for Building a “Parallel Universe,” in which students will study and learn to advocate for spiritually-deep alternatives to existing social arrangements in such a way as to gradually build a political base that has the capacity to attract others to a Spiritual-Activist practice and the change that it aspires to—ultimately to the creation of what King called The Beloved Community that we believe can exist for all people once their internalized Fear of the Other has been understood and effectively addressed.

The seminar-style course, held once a month, inspires current and future leaders through presentations by local, regional, national and international experts, panel discussions, hands-on exercises and field trips. Students will also connect with other concerned leaders, receive an extensive binder of related readings, and develop the tools, resources and networks needed to become more effective policymakers and community leaders. Leadership Training in Spiritual Activism is a proactive, applied educational experience, engaging participants through a class and individual leadership project, homework and reading assignments, and an optional mentorship program that connects current students with Institute Fellows in relevant fields of special interest to each student.

The Institute for Spiritual Activism provides a one-year, non-degree Spiritual Activism Training Program for those who aspire to study the link between spirituality and politics between the desire for authentic human recognition and of the natural world that underlies all human relations and the ways that this desire is manifested and often distorted in our social, political, ecological, and economic life. The purpose of the Training is to create a new generation of leaders and activists who understand that social change requires more than expanding economic benefits and legal and political rights but also a change in the very inter-subjective and psychospiritual environment that have shaped existing conditions and undergirded them with a Fear of the Other that must itself be transcended if real change is to be deep, comprehensive and lasting. Students graduating from the program will receive a certificate in Spiritual Activism at the end of the first year, and will be invited to participate in our second year Fellowship program in which they will have a spiritual-activist social placement and engage with Institute on a monthly basis to reflect on the spiritual-political impact of their work.

The Leadership Training in Spiritual Activism offers a curriculum that emphasizes four main areas: 1) The History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism, in which students will learn the ideas of thinkers and activists like Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Joshua Heschel women and others who have helped to build a new spiritually-grounded paradigm as well as the ideas of Michael Lerner, Peter Gabel Julia, Joanna, Dorothy Day, and others who have shaped this Training Program and who have built upon these ideas; 2) Approaches to Healing from Alienation and for Manifesting Effective Moral Presence, in which students will engage in theoretical and experientially-based learning designed to bring forth within each student the capacity for grounded and embodied Presence and how to make that very capacity an organizing principle capable of speaking to the longing for authenticity in those around us trapped in today’s often artificial and distancing world; 3) The Spiritual Foundations of Public Policy, in which students will learn how to rethink key issues in social and environmental policy to be able to articulate the underlying moral core of policy issues that creates the capacity to move others to action in support of progressive and communitarian solutions to human and environmental problems; and 4) The Necessity for Building a “Parallel Universe,” in which students will study and learn to advocate for spiritually-deep alternatives to existing social arrangements in such a way as to gradually build a political base that has the capacity to attract others to a Spiritual-Activist practice and the change that it aspires to—ultimately to the creation of what King called The Beloved Community that we believe can exist for all people once their internalized Fear of the Other has been understood and effectively addressed.

The seminar-style course, held once a month, inspires current and future leaders through presentations by local, regional, national and international experts, panel discussions, hands-on exercises and field trips. Students will also connect with other concerned leaders, receive an extensive binder of related readings, and develop the tools, resources and networks needed to become more effective policymakers and community leaders. Leadership Training in Spiritual Activism is a proactive, applied educational experience, engaging participants through a class and individual leadership project, homework and reading assignments, and an optional mentorship program that connects current students with Institute Fellows in relevant fields of special interest to each student.

Each student following their year of study has the option of continuing service in the Institute for Spirituality and Politics’ Fellowship Program. After their initial training, participants can commit to a one-year term of service in their own communities as a Spiritual Activism Fellow. Over the course of the year, Fellows organize events, engage in speaking and communication activities, develop a community project and help lead the movement for a just, sacred and sustainable world. Fellows get ongoing support from the Spiritual Activism Academy to meet their personal leadership goals. They also communicate regularly with their Academy class members and with past fellows.

We are also exploring affiliation with other academic and theological institutions so that it would be possible to continue beyond the one year Certificate in Spiritual Activism with a second year curriculum designed to provide focused/concentration area academic or seminary-type knowledge, skills, experiences leading to a BA, MA or Phd or ordination as spiritual leaders (spiritual activist clergy).

LEADERSHIP PROGRAM IN SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM
SAMPLE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS

Core Course I: History, Philosophy, & Politics of Spiritual Activism: Lead Instructor: Peter Gabel w/ others.This course will set out the fundamental philosophical framework, employing an historical approach to its development as well as a political approach to understanding its import, to spiritual activism as the essential core piece missing in the toolbox of leaders hoping to create a more just, sacred and sustainable world.

If equipped only with the individualist, materialist and anti-ecological tools of progress emerging from the Enlightenment even when attempted, by 150 years of Marxist philosophy and revolutionary practice, to be reclaimed as libratory for the masses, new leadership will continue to reproduce the same cycles of .

Spiritual activism proposes an alternative model for understanding the creation of reality and how it changes and improves. Turning Marx on his head, Spiritual Activism proposes that the oppressive social and environmental conditions of our lives today have emerged from fear and alienation from each other and the earth – a lack ‘of recognition’ of the other as essentionally one with us and connected through what Martin Buber has called N “I-Thou” relationship, rather than the separated and alienated “I – It” relationship.

Not recognizing the ‘desire’ for fear-eliminating recognition leads us to pursue creating a social, economic and environmental world in which ‘non-recognition’ or ‘humiliation’ is attempted to be avoided through Substitute Forms of Connection: Partial Gratifications and Defense Mechanisms including Inflated Nationalism and Fundamentalist Religious Belief, CREATION OF False Community e.g. the state, and Demonization of Others and a flight from “real community”.

Other elements in the History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism that will be addressed are its manifestation politically as what Marina Sitrin called in her book Horizontilidad on Argentine social movements in response to the economic collapse of 2001 – politeca affective or the politics of affection – as well as the need to address the call of liberation theology to enable recognition of all people through addressing making an ‘option for the poor’ to escape whatever forces were impoverishing them to the point of invisibility.

This course will also look at the intersection of spiritual activism with approaches to social change that emphasize class and economics; race, representation and recognition of the other; ecology and the environment; art, literature and aesthetics and other religious traditions of integrating spirituality and social change such as socially engaged Buddhism, Gandhi’s Hindu based constructive program of swadeshi, swarash and satyagraha. Finally, this course will include the examination of previous historical periods attempts at spiritual activism such as the ‘Diggers’ Movement’ in 1649 and the periods of the ’long 1960’s’ (1955 – 1975).

Core Course II: Overcoming Fear of the Other: Healing Alienation and Manifesting Moral Presence: Michael McAvoy, Crispin ShelleyUnderstanding that fear of the other is at the heart of social problems does not necessarily overcome the problem that we still are limited by the wounds we experienced as a result of this fact or that as a consequence of this, we have inflicted pain on ourselves and others. Without healing from this, we will unintentionally reproduce the alienation we experienced in the world.

This class will explore the means of achieving the necessary healing through therapies that are psychological, somatic and/or spiritual in approach but which share the common outcome of not adapting to an alienated world but moving towards changing the socio-political context which is the source of pain.

In addition to the healing that is necessary, there is also the need for individuals to develop the strength and ability to manifest a spiritual/moral presence to act creatively, courageously and committed in the face of people, forces and situations which threaten mutual recognition, politeca affective and the ability to make an option for the poor of body, mind and spirit. This course will explore the physical, emotional and contemplative practices which have been used by practitioner’s of spiritual activism e.g. Gandhi, King, and others to enable them to be effective and sustainable.

Core Course III: Spiritualizing Social Policy and Cultural Practice.This course will explore the creation of social policy that is based on a conception of spiritual politics that understands the world as a nexus of inherently social human beings linked to one another by more than the individualistic and material needs that have dominated prior political, , and social theories. We will thus examine how his radically changes the way we understand and approach existing social realities domestically such as Social Security (by re-envisioning it as “intergenerational caring”) and the Environment (by creating an Environmental and Social Responsibility amendment which requires corporations to file Ethical, Social and Environmental Impact Reports in order to receive charters to operate) to re-envisioning “foreign policy” that understands that it’s not just about oil, or about the risk of terror and weapons of mass destruction, rather, at the heart of our problem is a complex historical process of distortion in the relation of self to Other that encompasses oil, and genuine concern about terror, and calls for a Global Marshall Plan with actions based on the caring concept of Generosity.


Core Course IV: Building a Parallel Universe of Relationships Organizations, Institutions and Communities.
Spiritual Activism believes that transformation of the social and environmental world will not succeed by liberal reform or radical violent revolution but requires the creation of what we call a “parallel universe” existing inside our present-day society—a just, sacred, and sustainable network of social and ecological relationships, organizations, institutions and communities that by virtue of the energy and spirit that it generates has the capacity to attract others to it, and to lead others to dare to hope that they too should seek to create a world that can fulfill their own deepest longings and aspirations. This course will examine this strategy of “ horizontalism” and “creating change without seizing power” and proposes what these new “pre-figurative” organizations, institution and communities could and should be as well as describe some of the essential elements and processes of each. This course will also present our understanding that social movements do not just happen. Building one requires a thoughtful, reflective practice. Our goal for this is thus also to help create ways to incorporate the power of our ‘mutual recognition’, parallel-universe vision and strategy into their work and collectively recognize and support the powerful, non-violent, pre-figurative social change movement which “changes the world without seeking power” by “being the world, we want to see” and thus becoming the ‘Beloved Community’ of Martin Luther King’s ‘Dream’.

Core Course V: Spiritual Activism Reflection Seminar: Projects/Portfolio.Program students would complete a Spiritual Activist Project-based Portfolio or Thesis. In this process, which will include regular ‘Reflection Seminar’, students will articulate how they have participated in spiritual activism by changing their own and others’ consciousness and developed moral presence through education and intellectual work; conducted spirit enhancing healing practices such therapy, spiritual activist support groups, contemplative practices; established their own projects or influenced other projects to create spiritually based social and environmental policies; or developed parallel universe organizations, institutions, cultural practices or communities that enhanced mutual recognition of the other, advanced a ‘politics of affection’ in their workplace and/or communities, made an ‘option for the poor’ to be recognized and participate or finally helped build parallel universe oriented social movement to realize the just, sacred and sustainable ‘Beloved Community’ for all that was so eloquently evoked by the words and life of Martin Luther King.
Examples of Spiritual Activist Internships/Practica

1. By changing their own and others’ consciousness and developed moral presence through education and intellectual work;

2. conducted spirit enhancing healing practices such therapy, spiritual activist support groups, contemplative practices;

3. established their own projects or influenced other projects to create spiritually based social and environmental policies;

4. developed parallel-universe organizations, institutions, cultural practices or communities that enhanced mutual recognition of the other, advanced a ‘politics of affection’ in their workplace and/or communities, made an ‘option for the poor’ to be recognized and fully participate;

5. helped build parallel universe oriented social movement to realize the just, sacred and sustainable ‘Beloved Community’ for all that was so eloquently evoked by the words and life of Martin Luther King.

Institute for Spiritual Activism: Fellowship Program:Each student follows their year of study with service on the Institute for Spirituality and Politics’ Fellowship Program/ After their initial training at the Academy, participants commit to a one-year term of service in their own communities as a Spiritual Activism Fellow. Over the course of the year, Fellows organize events, engage in speaking and communication activities, develop a community project and help lead the movement for a just, sacred and sustainable world. Fellows get ongoing support from the Spiritual Activism Academy to meet their personal leadership goals. They also communicate regularly with their Academy class members and with past fellows.

DRAFT: Sample First-Year Weekend Certificate Program Curriculum
( N.B. Faculty listings other than ISA members Peter Gabel, Mutombo Mpanya, Crispin Shelley, Michael McAvoy, are proposed but unconfirmed and designated with an asterix *)

• Weekend I, Day1:
o Introductions
o History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism:
 The Missing Link in Social Change: Overcoming Fear & Alienation, Individualism and the Desire for Mutual Recognition – Peter Gabel Phd., J.D.

• Weekend I, Day 2:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy
• Topics for year to be selected from Tikkun, Left Hand of God, Spirit Matters, etc.– Rabbi Michael Lerner, Phd.
o History and Philosophy of Social Activism
• “Politica Afectiva: Militancy from Bases of Affection” – Marina Sitrin

• Weekend II, Day 1:
o History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism:
 The Dynamics of the Denial of Desire; Substitute Forms of Connection: Partial Gratifications and Defense Mechanism – Peter Gabel Phd., J.D.
 Liberation Theology: From St. George’s Hill in 1649 (The ‘Diggers’) to Dorothy Day and the Catholic Worker Movement to Latin America’s ‘Option for the Poor’ in Central & South America – Francisco Herrera and Michael McAvoy ; Black Liberation Theology–Linda James Myers, Phd.

• Weekend II, Day 2:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy
 Topics for year to be selected from Tikkun, Left Hand of God, Spirit Matters, etc.– Rabbi Michael Lerner, Phd.
• History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism
o Martin Luther King: the spiritual Activism of Agape, Compassion and the Beloved Community

• Weekend III, Day 1:
o History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism:
 Inflated Nationalism and Fundamentalist Religious Belief – Peter Gabel Phd., J.D.
 False Community’ and Demonization of Others– Peter Gabel Phd., J.D.

• Weekend III, Day 2:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy:
 — Rabbi Michael Lerner, Phd.
o History & Philosophy of Spiritul Activism. Ghandi – Soul
o Force and The Constructive Program of Swadeshi, Swaraj and Satyagraha and Ghaffar Khan, non-violent soldier of Islam. Faculty: TBA*

• Weekend IV, Day 1:
o History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism:
 A History: Flight from Authentic Community and the Hope for Meaningful Connection
• Weekend IV, Day 2:
o History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism:
 Thich Nhat Hanh, Engaged Buddhism and the Buddhist Peace Fellowship FACULTY: TBA*
 Contemplative Life and Practice as Spiritual Activism. Patricia Ellsberg*, James Baraz*

• Weekend V, Day1: History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism
o Spiritual Activism and Political Economy: M.McAvoy
o Spiritual Activism and Gender: Crispin Shelley, Ama Zenya*

• Weekend V, Day2: History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism
o Spiritualizing Social Policy – Michael Lerner*
o Spiritual Activism, Race, Representation and Recognition of the Other – Mutombo Mpanya

• Weekend VI, Day 1: History and Philosophy of Spiritual Activism
o Spiritual Activism, Sacred Biology and Ecology – Peter Gabel
o Putting Humpty Descartes Together Again: Body-Mind, The Tao of New Science, and Quantum Reality Faculty TBA*

• Weekend VI, Day 2:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy – Michael Lerner*
o History & Philosophy of Spiritual Activism: The Aesthetic – On the Road, The Church of St.John Coltrane, the music of Civil Rights, Rock and Roll and the Beat(le)itude of Imagine , and Integrating Art & Nature. FACULTY PANEL: TBA*

• Weekend VII, Day 1:
o Healing and Manifesting Moral Presence
 The Moral Core of Social Policy/Cultural Practice: how to evoke social awareness for a more loving and caring world… – Peter Gabel
 Eco-spiritual Activation: Julia Butterfly*, Leonardo Boff* , and Joanna Macy*. Michael McAvoy, Crispin Shelley

• Weekend VII, Day 2:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy: Michael Lerner*
o Healing and Manifesting Moral Presence
 Radical and Compassionate Psycho-Therapy – Michael McAvoy, Crispin Shelley

• Weekend VIII, Day 1:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy – Peter Gabel
 Health Care & Social Security
 Imagine Law
• Weekend VIII, Day 2:
o Spiritualizing Social Policy: Michael Lerner
o Healing and Manifesting Moral Presence: Somatic Therapy, Holistic Health and Alternative Medicine – Michael McAvoy, Crispin Shelley

• Weekend IX, Day 1:
o Building a Parallel Universe
 Creating Change without Seizing Power: engaging the wider culture from the strong and expanding ontological ground of the parallel universe – based on a healing politics rather than liberal reform or radical revolution – Peter Gabel
 Horizontalism – Marina Sitrin*

• Weekend IX, Day 2:
o Building a Parallel Universe I:
 Michael Lerner: Radical Generosity and The Global Marshall Plan
 Overcoming Aid with Counter-development – Mutombo Mpanya*

• Weekend X, Day 1:
o Building a Parallel Universe
 2. The Spirit of the 60’s: A 20 Year Decade of Incarnated Spiritual Activism. M.McAvoy
 Another World is Possible: Nowtopia, DIY, and Sustainable Everything. Faculty: TBA*

• Weekend X, Day 2:
o Building a Parallel Universe
 Jewish Renewal as a Model– Michael Lerner*
 David Korten* and the New Global Economy

• Weekend XI, Day 1:
o Creating the Beloved Community
 an analysis of dynamics leading to internal fighting, resurgent paranoia, and various forms of blockage to community analysis of how specific movements – economic, cultural, environmental – need to be reformed with a focus on grounded confidence and mutual recognition to be successful to ‘attract’ the listening of others’ hearts and souls, and to withstand the fear-response of the paranoid — Peter Gabel

 The Spacious Center: Overcoming Cultural Trauma, Cultural Ritual, Cultural Healing – Aftab Omer*

• Weekend XI, Day 2:
o Creating the Beloved Community – Just, Sacred, Sustainable: The Beloved Community for the New Millennia. Faculty: All ISA Faculty + TBA*

• Weekend XII, Days 1 & 2: Presentation of Student Projects

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