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Center for Action and Contemplation
Prophets: Part Two
Prophets: Part Two

Prophets: Part Two: Weekly Summary

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Prophets: Part Two

Summary, Sunday, July 7—Friday, July 12, 2019

The biblical notion of justice, beginning in the Hebrew Scriptures with the Jewish prophets—especially Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Hosea—is quite different than retributive justice. If we read carefully and honestly, we will see that God’s justice is restorative. (Sunday)

A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. (Monday)

Prophets, by their very nature, cannot be at the center of any social structure. Rather, they are “on the edge of the inside.” (Tuesday)

When the priestly/institutional and prophetic/movement impulses work together, institutions provide stability and continuity and movements provide direction and dynamism. Like skeleton and muscles, the two are meant to work together. —Brian McLaren (Wednesday)

The task of prophetic ministry is to nurture, nourish, and evoke a consciousness and perception alternative to the consciousness and perception of the dominant culture around us. —Walter Brueggemann (Thursday)

Following Christ is a matter of engagement in this world, “living unreservedly in life’s duties, problems, successes and failures, experiences and perplexities. In so doing we throw ourselves completely into the arms of God, taking seriously, not our own sufferings, but those of God in the world—watching with Christ in Gethsemane. That, I think is faith, that is metanoia.” —Dietrich Bonhoeffer (Friday)


Practice: Divine Obedience

The most important word in our Center’s name is not Action nor is it Contemplation, but the word and. If your spiritual practice doesn’t lead you to some acts of concrete caring or service, then you have every reason not to trust it. While many argue that spiritual teachers shouldn’t get involved in politics, even the Hebrew prophets and Jesus critiqued their leaders and practiced civil disobedience. There is no such thing as being non-political! So, I encourage you to practice a contemplative, compassionate politics. The Barmen Today statement is one way to do just that.

“Barmen Today: A Contemporary Contemplative Declaration” was developed by several of our Living School students to recognize the importance of this moment in history. As in 1934 when the original Barmen Declaration critiqued Christians’ endorsement of the Nazi party, we are at a crossroads. We must choose: Will we remain silent when we see injustice? Or will we speak truth to power?

Leslye Colvin, one of the Barmen Today organizers, writes:

Responding to the signs of the times, people of goodwill have historically raised their voices on behalf of the common good. How the voice is raised—whether literally or figuratively, individually or collectively—is determined by a number of variables including the challenge and the desired outcome. Examples of these efforts include Mahatma Gandhi’s Salt March, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, Marian Wright Edelman’s Children’s Defense Fund, Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative, and women religious’ NETWORK. . . . Depending on the circumstances, speaking truth may be accompanied by the grave risk of physical harm or death. In spite of the risk, people of goodwill are duty-bound to speak. [1]

I invite you to join us in standing in unanimity and nonviolent resistance to forces that threaten our common good. With one voice, we speak out against systems of oppression and call forth love, compassion, healing of division, human dignity, and care for creation.

We commit to nonviolently reject and resist the marginalization of any color, class, race, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation. We reject and resist words, policies, and actions of exclusion, denigration, and nationalism. We reject and resist that which threatens the health and resilience of creation.

Listen to Living School alum, songwriter, and regenerative farmer Alana Levandoski’s song “Divine Obedience”—hear not only the music but your heart’s call toward compassion. [2] Then read the powerful Barmen Today statement and consider how you will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly. [3]

[1] Leslye Colvin, “Barmen Today: An Act of Divine Obedience,” April 8, 2019,

[2] Alana Levandoski, “Divine Obedience,”

[3] Read and sign the Barmen Today statement at

For Further Study:
Walter Brueggemann, The Prophetic Imagination, 2nd ed. (Augsburg Fortress: 2001)

Robert Ellsberg, All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (The Crossroad Publishing Company: 1997, 1998)

Brian D. McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian (Convergent: 2016)

Richard Rohr: Essential Teachings on Love, eds. Joelle Chase and Judy Traeger (Orbis Books: 2018)

Richard Rohr, Prophets Then, Prophets Now (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2006), MP3 download

Richard Rohr, Scripture as Liberation (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2002), MP3 download

Image credit: Deborah Under the Palm Tree (detail) by Adriene Cruz. Used with permission of the artist. See more of Cruz’s work:
Inspiration for this week’s banner image: A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God. —Richard Rohr
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