Beyond Resistance: Prophetic Empathy and Radical Love

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Cat Zavis leading a Spiritual Activism Training in January 2017

Cat Zavis leading a Spiritual Activism Training, January 2017

These are the times that try men’s souls, but we can Rise Up!
A few weeks ago, I was walking to join a protest rally at City Hall in Los Angeles, when I caught the eye of one of the city employees. We briefly exchanged salutations and he then whispered to me, ‘Oh no, not another protest,’ and continued to express his distaste for having his day interrupted by people complaining about something. Instead of arguing with him, I shared that he’s right: most people do complain, but here is a group that wants to do something about it -they are standing up for justice. As my new friend went his way, he said, ‘You’re right, they are doing something worthwhile.’
Many of the people I speak with are frustrated and angry about congress, this administration, the NRA, the environment, Trump supporters, etc. These are (indeed) the times that try (wo)men’s souls – this quote from Thomas Paine, written to dispirited soldiers in Washington, DC, seems so appropriate at a time like this. Yet, we have a choice on how we want to respond to this moment in history… We can complain or we can rise up, take action, and give voice to our vision of a loving and just world.
I want to personally invite you to our next Spiritual Activism Training that begins on April 24. In our program, titled Beyond Resistance:Prophetic Empathy and Radical Love, we are integrating spirituality and activism to build a world of love and justice.
People really want their lives to be about serving some higher purpose.” Rabbi Michael Lerner
For the last eleven years, I have been a leader in humanitarian and social justice programs in southern California. As a transformational interfaith minister, I have shared messages of love, peace, nonviolence, and spirituality in pulpits and workshops around the world, and have been an advocate for a vision of Dr. King’s Beloved Community. Before joining the Network of Spiritual Progressives team, I took the training myself and was deeply moved by the readings and actual practice of skills in prophetic empathy. They helped me be more open to hearing and honoring the thoughts and opinions of others, and to develop self-compassion and self-empathy to better understand my own feelings and needs. I have always encouraged people to have a vision for their life, and now I use my voice to integrate the New Bottom Line and Global Peace Plan into a vision for building a World of Love and Justice. I hope you will join me in the training and, if you’re in the LA area, in building an NSP Chapter in Los Angeles.
The new world will be created by people who know better than to be realistic. Realism is crumbling all around us. We will learn what is possible by struggling for the world we desire.” – Rabbi Michael Lerner
As a facilitator in the last two Spiritual Activism programs, I have witnessed the transformation of participants as they gained new skills to take into the world. Some of their comments on the training include:

  • I learned how to “listen to the other, rather than ramping up my own arguments. Focusing on the humanity of the other.”
  • “I have been surprised at how interested people are in this information (about the New Bottom Line). They are seeking help with their own struggles in today’s climate. It is reaffirming and encourages me to share with more people.”
  • I benefitted from “the role plays and group processes that enabled us to balance integration of the process with our own authentic background and experience.”

In this training from the Network of Spiritual Progressives (NSP), you will learn how to:

  • Activate the skills you need to make a difference in the world
  • Be in a learning community in which your desire for a loving, caring, just, and sustainable world will be embraced and encouraged
  • Gain the tools you need to advocate for concrete proposals and programs to create lasting systemic change
  • Join with others to help build a spiritually progressive social change movement
  • Receive the support you need to start a local chapter of the NSP and influence social change movements in your community

This seven-session training led by myself and Cat Zavis, executive director of the NSP, will take place every Tuesday from April 24 through June 5. The seven video conference sessions will be held live from 4:00 – 6:00 pm PST, and all sessions are recorded.
Get involved. Rise up! Become part of a movement for change.
Please register today at
Rev. Carolyn Wilkins is the Program Director for the Network of Spiritual Progressives. She is also the director of the GlobalWorks Ministry at Agape International Spiritual Center, chair of the Culver City Area Interfaith Alliance, and author of the forthcoming book Peace, Hope and Happiness: A World of Possibilities. You can contact her at