on contemplative activism

This morning, I discovered THIS, and I freaked out. Well, freaked out in my head. Fireworks and explosions of things-making-sense, you know? But anyways, I’ll get to discussing what “this” is.

This, is an organization called “Gravity,” a non-profit which just recently celebrated one year of existence down in Omaha, Nebraska. I can’t really remember what I was google-searching at the time, but, these words caught my eye as I was scanning down what my search had revealed:

Gravity exists to help the women and children in red-light areas, refugee camps, sewers and slums who deserve better. Who can’t afford another painful loss or sad goodbye. Who don’t need young idealists to show up in their neighborhoods with promises of hope or freedom only to last a couple years before they decide they want to go back to grad school or pour coffee 20 hours a week while figuring out what else they want to do with their privileged freedoms.

Ouch!

See, that could easily describe me. And yes, I know I tend to be hard on myself, and my reasons for leaving the nonprofit I served with for a two-year span during/after university seemed valid at the time, but yeah, pretty much my story: idealism, 2 years of service with a beautiful grassroots non-profit, burn-out, job as a barista, and now at grad school. This has happened to other organizations who work for justice? Young idealists with privilege are a problem? Yeppers, I was intrigued, and so I kept reading.

From the organization’s blog:

We felt compelled to launch the to Center to serve humanitarians, practitioners, and activists who frequently take better care of others than they do themselves—folks who seem to perpetually teeter on the edge of burnout hoping that they can in fact do good better if they can just keep it together.

[…]

The way we’ve been living, serving, and giving of ourselves to the world is not working.

We need a new way to live our faith, express our potential, and give of ourselves for the good of the world. The future of our existence in an increasingly pluralized global reality depends on it.

It is time for contemplative activism.

Mmmmmmmmmmm!! Loved this discovery. Gravity’s tagline is “doing good … better,” in other words, equipping those who have the heart to serve in demanding, social-justice related causes with the disciplines and practices of spiritual life in order to serve well over the long haul, and I am so down with that. They are all about the connection between contemplation (commitment to deep prayer and meditation on the character of God) and action – an ancient Christian association, but such great stuff to discover now! I am excited to keep reading and learning, and can feel a paper topic coming on for my class on Christian Spirituality. #ftw

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