Who We Are
What is a continuum?
A continuum is the seamless connection between two things that blend into each other so gradually that it’s impossible to say where one becomes the next. We have formed our community around the deep conviction that there is a continuum between spirituality and social justice.
What do you mean by spirituality?
In many languages, the word for spirit is also the word for breath or wind. In Hebrew, it’s ruach. In Greek, it’s pneuma. In Latin, it’s spiritus. In Sanskrit, it’s prana. We follow this ancient insight by using the word spirit to describe the nonphysical essence of life. The movement of breath in our bodies reminds us that there is an interactive element to our existence. Cultivating our inner, spiritual lives means diving deeply into what it means to be human.
What do you mean by social justice?
When people are denied access to resources and opportunities based on their traits, we call it discrimination. When our social institutions, such as schools, hospitals, and job markets, reinforce patterns of discrimination, we call it injustice. Having compassion for the oppressed is a necessary first step toward recovery. But social justice occurs when people of every political persuasion join forces to address the root causes of our oppressive systems.
How do you connect spirituality and social justice?
Cultivating our inner, spiritual lives awakens us to our own participation in systems that oppress people and compels us to address these problems with concrete action. The most important thing we do is build friendships with people who are already in the fight. When invited we offer assistance at the practical level and extend our reach through advocacy. Deep spiritual roots provide stability in the fight against the injustice in ourselves and our community.
How realistic is this approach?
We follow the sentiment of scholar Cornel West: “You have to draw a distinction between hope and optimism. Vaclav Havel put it well when he said ‘optimism’ is the belief that things are going to turn out as you would like, as opposed to ‘hope,’ which is when you are thoroughly convinced something is moral and right and just and therefore you fight regardless of the consequences.”
What does this have to do with Christianity?
We believe that the only hope for our world lies in sacrificial love. We want to love others the way we experience God loving us–unconditionally. We desire to move beyond mere tolerance and embrace those we’re tempted to call enemies. Tracing the historic origins of this “love your enemies” approach leads us to Jesus of Nazareth. We discover in his life, death, and resurrection the path of reconciliation with God and each other. While we trust that he embodies the solution, we do not assume we have the corner on the religious market.