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Center for Action and Contemplation

Prophets: Self Critical Thinking: Weekly Summary

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Prophets: Self Critical Thinking

Summary: Sunday, February 15-Friday, February 20, 2015

The Hebrew Scriptures are divided into three major sections: the Torah, the Prophets, and the Wisdom books. These three sections represent the ordinary and healthy development of human consciousness in a sequential way. (Sunday)

The Hebrew prophets were free to love their tradition and to criticize it at the same time. (Monday)

What the prophets keep saying is, “God is the only absolute!” Don’t make the fingers pointing to the moon into the moon itself, as it were. (Tuesday)

For the prophets, it was all about the purity and integrity of the divine-human relationship, which led them to point out the immense injustices of their world, their kings, and their priests. (Wednesday)

A prophet must be educated inside the system in order to have the ability to critique that very system by its own criteria. (Thursday)

A prophet is one who keeps God free for people and who keeps people free for God, so the covenant of love can happen with no hindrance from either side. (Friday)


Practice: Speaking Truth to Power

The American Friends Service Committee published Speak Truth to Power in 1955, and their study of international conflict is still compelling and relevant for a world full of injustice and violence. Read this prophetic call to repentance—metanoia, to turn around—with an open heart and mind, or in other words, contemplatively:

The politics of eternity works not by might but by spirit; a Spirit whose redemptive power is released among [people] through suffering endured on behalf of the evildoer, and in obedience to the divine command to love all [people]. Such love is worlds apart from the expedient of loving those who love us, of doing good to those who have done good to us. It is the essence of such love that it does not require an advance guarantee that it will succeed, will prove easy or cheap, or that it will be met with swift answering love. Whether practiced by [individuals] or nations, it well may encounter opposition, hate, humiliation, utter defeat. In the familiar words of the epistle, such love suffers long, is always kind, never fails. . . . This is the Spirit that overcomes the world.

To act on such a faith, the politics of eternity demand of us, first, repentance. As individuals and as a nation we must literally turn about. We must turn from our self-righteousness and arrogance and confess that we do that which is evil in the sight of the Lord. We must turn from the substitution of material for spiritual values; we must turn not only from our use of mass violence but from what is worse, our readiness to use this violence whenever it suits our purpose, regardless of the pain it inflicts on others. We must turn about.

Gateway to Silence:
Welcome, uncomfortable truth!

For Further Study:
Dancing Standing Still: Healing the World from a Place of Prayer
Prophets Then, Prophets Now (CD, MP3 download)
Scripture as Liberation (MP3 download) 

Image credit: The Way of the Prophet by Mike Van, concept by Vivienne Close.
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