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The Prophetic Path - Summary
The Prophetic Path - Summary

We Are All Prophets

Thursday, December 28, 2023

In his book We Survived the End of the World, Choctaw elder and retired Episcopal bishop Steven Charleston writes about how prophets arise in periods of crisis or “apocalypse” to chart a message of resilience and hope.

In trying to discern how and why my ancestors lived through one of the greatest human cataclysms in history, I decided to rediscover the prophets of my people…. I listened once again to the voices of Native American prophets to discover what they could teach me about the world in which we live today.…

Prophets do not arise out of a vacuum. They are part of the apocalyptic process. They appear first as an early warning system within any culture at risk. They fulfill the classic role of the prophet as herald of a vision of what is to come. Then, as the apocalypse becomes ever more real, they serve as teachers to instruct people about what to do to end the suffering and alter the course of destruction. Finally, they are mystics who describe the future and guide people to find it within themselves.

In carrying out these roles in the apocalyptic process, the prophet strives to stand on solid ground, even while the earth beneath their feet is moving. That is, prophets not only talk about the future but the past. They ground their prophecy in the bedrock spiritual traditions of their people. They recall the ancient stories and covenants between the divine and human beings. They reinterpret ancient teachings and remind people of old promises. Prophets are immersed in tradition even as they talk about how that tradition will need to change to meet new apocalyptic challenges.

Charleston believes that everyone can be a prophet if we awaken to the possibility and responsibility of our time.

I invite you to join me in becoming a prophet.… It does not matter what your race or religion may be. It does not matter what age or gender you are. We can all become prophets of our own time. We are all needed….

We are all prophets. We are not divine messengers. We do not speak for God. We are not miracle workers or moral judges. Instead, we are … human beings living in extraordinary times. We are what the Hopi are: communities seeking a spiritual purpose to their lives. We are question askers. We are vision seekers. We strive to be common-sense advocates for what will work best to help our people.…

Believe in yourself. You are a prophet. You are already making your migration. You have been chosen because you have been born. You are a prophet because you are awake. You are a keeper of revelation: a person with a thought that may create a new world. Do not hide that piece of the sacred tablet, for the time is short, but give it to as many as you can, as often as you can, until the apocalypse becomes a blessing.


Steven Charleston, We Survived the End of the World: Lessons from Native America on Apocalypse and Hope (Minneapolis, MN: Broadleaf Books, 2023), 8, 9–10, 199–201.

Image credit: Madison Frambes, Untitled 8 (detail), 2023, naturally dyed paper and ink, Mexico, used with permission. Click here to enlarge image.

The prophetic path is a daily choice to walk along an ever-unfolding landscape.

Story from Our Community:  

Aloha, everyone.… My goal for every [period of] meditation is to quiet the mind enough to “hear” the voice of God within my heart. When I am able to quiet my thinking, often thoughts rush in to fill the void. One way I’ve found to avoid this rush of thoughts is to repeat one of the many sacred names of God until eventually, a thought-less silence fills me. Sometimes this silent openness brings with it an awareness of what I must do as an individual, at this time and in this place, to deepen my loving relationship with God. When I hear a subtle and quiet voice within me, I know that my next challenge is to, without reservation, be willing to change. It may be the most difficult part of the listening practice—but it’s so important. I have found that the willingness to change is essential to knowing and loving God and living in Love…. Malama Pono e malama kou kino; take care of the spirit of your heart, and take care of your body, health and wellness. Aloha. —Michael Y.

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