Posts in Service
Spirituality & Community Organizing

In this moment of disruptive change in our political environment I see both hope and real possibility to integrate traditional community organizing, social movement theory, and spiritual practices in order to bring our whole selves to the work of transforming systems and structures that oppress people and prevent them from realizing and sharing their gifts. 

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The Spirit of Restorative Justice

Sujatha Baliga found herself sitting in a room with a murderer and his victim’s parents, who had come seeking something more than punishment for their child’s killer. Sujatha, and the process of Restorative Justice, was uniquely positioned to help. In this interview, Sujatha teaches us about the practice of Restorative Justice and her personal experience.

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How We Get Free

There is a profound spiritual crisis at play in our society. It is a crisis of disconnection. As two women who have been young single mothers, our stories and experiences inform our understanding of and commitment to the work of bringing spiritual resources to bear on the current, ubiquitous crisis of disconnection in our world. Our lives have taught us the power of connecting with and across difference and not in spite of it.

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Bodies of Water

Human beings, we know, require water. It lubricates joints, cushions the brain and spinal cord, delivers oxygen, helps feed cells, regulates body temperature, and moves digestion forward. There is nothing like it. 

Water leaves our bodies through urine, sweat, and breath. It mostly enters through the mouth.

The part of the brain that senses thirst is the hypothalamus. This is also the part that maintains homeostasis, or that beautiful, delicate balance that counters external with internal. It responds to temperature and sleep, hunger, and moods. It constantly checks the body’s here with the world out there.

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Teaching With Tenderness: Toward An Embodied Practice

The following essay on historical memory as an embodied concept comes from a forthcoming book by Becky Thompson, Teaching with Tenderness: Toward an Embodied Practice. In the tradition of bell hooks’ Teaching to Transgress and Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Thompson invites us to draw upon contemplative practices (yoga, meditation, free writing, mindfulness, ritual) to keep our hearts open as we reckon with multiple injustices.

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Revolution of the Heart: Gender healing as a path to the beloved

Verena’s words struck home like a dagger in the hearts of the others in the room. Verena is a Member of Parliament in South Africa, and she was sharing her personal story on the fourth day of a unique workshop entitled “Gender Equity and Reconciliation” for Members of Parliament and other South African leaders.

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To Feed People: What it would take to lead a real food revolution

I was six years old when I fell in love with feeding people. I had only recently discovered that there were people in the world who didn’t have enough to eat—children who went to bed without dinner. It seemed to me that all of God’s children had the right to eat. Because my refrigerator was full, I couldn’t understand why any of the grown-ups allowed this to continue. How could anyone live with themselves in a world where kids are hungry?

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Planting & Pruning: Navigating doubts in teaching through honesty, faith, and love

Her short, black hair curled into rivulets. They bounced when she moved her head or nodded. Her green eyeshadow highlighted her brown eyes. Her mascara curled her eyelashes up and out; these eyelashes left a whisper of black on her upper eyelids. Her mouth formed a flat line, neither a smile nor a frown. She sat sandwiched between the bookends of her grandparents, slouching in her chair with her hands folded in her lap.

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Choosing Pain Any Day: Reflections on poetry and recovery

As a poet and teacher of poetry to those in recovery, I wonder whether that “certain Slant of light” Dickinson describes in her poem might somehow be borne through poetry to those in recovery. Might such a light help the recovering individual make the hard choice of sobriety and somehow mediate between pain and deadness? 

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