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Center for Action and Contemplation

Alumni Newsletter — November 2018

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Note from the Editor

Dear Living School Alumni,

Most of us, having been “sent” by the Living School, are doing the work of integrating action and contemplation. Fr. Richard Rohr tells us “and” is the most important word in the Center’s name. One way to describe Living School alumni is those who are “sent” to dwell in the ephemeral sweet spot of “and.” Some days we experience this more fully than others. I know I have more days of reactivity and anxiety than I do spacious, heart-centered presence. But it’s the continued quest that makes it real. As our teacher James Finley says, we commit to “assuming the inner stance of letting go that offers the least resistance to grace.” Then, in the midst of our action-contemplation, we encounter grace as utter gift.

Pulsing through this newsletter is a continual expansion of how we conceive and define “contemplation.” Or, to put it another way, each interview or article excavates further meaning from the transformative space of “and.” CAC Customer Service staff member Cliff Berrien speaks of the spiritual practice of customer service and the contemplative depths of drumming. We invite you to watch Barbara Holmes’ teachings for the 2018 symposium (made available only for alumni). Holmes’ work reframes contemplation and action for justice in critical ways; through a lens of cosmology, she sees a unifying way to navigate polarizing racial justice issues. We want to make sure the alumni community has a chance to learn from her.

There’s more, too: Byron McMillan (’19) reviews Holmes’ book Race and the Cosmos. Dennis McCain (’15) interviews Prison Contemplative Fellowship founder Ray Leonardini. I interview several alumni and current students about CONSPIRE 2018, and Sarah Lutterodt (’16) and Kathy Deal (’16) tell us about a recent Washington D.C. alumni retreat.

I pray that this newsletter equips you in some way for your own unique work of becoming incarnate love in our world.

Yours in action-contemplation,

Mark Longhurst

Staff Reflection

Cliff Berrien

Interview with CAC Staff Member Cliff Berrien

Cliff Berrien on CONSPIRE 2018, contemplation and drumming, the impact of Barbara Holmes, and the spiritual practice of customer service. Listen to the interview below or read the transcript.

Alumni Spotlights

Dennis McCain (’15) and Ray Leonardini

“I came to realize that the incarcerated, marginalized in every way by society, have their own well-springs of grace. . . . I found that I needed less ‘effort’ and more ‘presence.’ . . . We are ministering to each other.” Dennis McCain (’15) interviews Prison Contemplative Fellowship founder Ray Leonardini.

Report Back from Washington D.C. Alumni Retreat
Sarah Lutterodt (’16) and Kathy Deal (’16)

A group of alumni in the Washington D.C. area planned a retreat with Living School Spiritual Director Carolyn Metzler. They reflect on their time together learning about wilderness spirituality and offer tips for other alumni who wish to plan retreats.

Read more here…

LS Alumni and Students Reflect on CONSPIRE 2018
Mark Longhurst (’15)

CONSPIRE 2018 opened a thematic gateway to challenging terrain that few spirituality conferences tread: the path of descent as the path of transformation. The conference and theme impacted alumni powerfully. As Hendree Harrison (’16) said, “I came home from CONSPIRE inspired to drop everything, and love.”

Book Review
Race and the Cosmos: An Invitation to View the World Differently
Review by Byron McMillan (’19)

Race and the Cosmos offers prophetic hope that we can overcome racism through broadening our worldview and creating new language that propels us to construct a new world where everyone belongs.

Read more here…

Alumni News

Alana Levandoski’s (’15) Song “Divine Obedience”

Listen to musician and alumna Alana Levandoski’s song in support of “Barmen Today: A Contemporary Contemplative Declaration,” written by Living School students and alumni. Read Barmen Today here.

Passing of Therese Lynch (’18)

With deep sadness we share that alumna Therese Lynch (’18) has passed away into God. This video featuring Therese singing and Alishiya Kapoor (’18) dancing is from the March 2017 intensive and captures Therese’s loving heart. Watch the video of Therese and Alishiya below.

Art at top of message and above “Report Back from Washington D.C. Alumni Retreat” from “Stations of Jonah” (detail) by Kyle Steed
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