By Mark Van Steenwyk, executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination
Any spirituality that nurtures abstracted love, generic unity, and vague justice is worse than useless.
A Jesus-shaped spirituality moves us to love specific people, to struggle for tangible solidarity, and challenges us to work for particular justice.
If your spirituality provides positive feels and comfort because it helps you cope with the pain of the world, without ever addressing that pain, then it is, ultimately, a spirituality of empire. Continue reading
From the Facebook page of Mark Van Steenwyk (right), executive director of The Center for Prophetic Imagination.
I’m working on giving myself permission to be merely adequate. Otherwise, I hold myself to a ridiculous standard that I don’t hold others to.
Part of being a white man is internalizing a message that dominance and excellence is a birthright. And that to not achieve these things means one is a failure. Continue reading
By Mark Van Steenwyk, the executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination
Part of what makes contemplation important, both as a a regular practice and an overall posture of life is noticing inner thoughts, images, ideas, and stories that lead us away from deep connection to the Spirit, each other, and the rest of creation.
However, in a society where we have learned to disconnect mind from body and spirit from politics, there is a danger in contemplative practice. I’ve begun to increasingly suspect that many engage in spiritual practice in a way that is disassociative—they use spirituality to disconnect from anxiety and pain, rather than to allow them to give attention to suffering. Continue reading
A re-post from Mark Van Steenwyk, executive director of The Center for Prophetic Imagination (originally posted to social media on September 23, 2019).
Sin isn’t a homogeneous substance that exists in human hearts. It isn’t a phantomous thing that can only be combated with prayer and good intentions.
The Bible doesn’t make the case that all of humanity is bad to the core and that sin is about individual human choices and that the only way to fight sin is to win people to Jesus. That story has been placed upon Scripture and, at the same time, fits so nicely within the framework of individualism and religious conservatism. Which is why it persists in the USA. Continue reading
By Mark Van Steenwyk, the executive director of the Center for Prophetic Imagination in Minneapolis. This is from his weekly blog (June 24, 2019). To sign up to get these in your email inbox, click here (top of the page). Also, their two-year program in Prophetic Spirituality launches in September!
Jesus’ compassion led to the cross. In an unjust world, love confronts injustice. In an oppressive world, love challenges oppression. Because of this, love leads to the Cross.
When he broke bread with sinners and fellowshipped with outcasts, he drew the ire of religious gatekeepers. When, in the temple, he raised a ruckus over the exploitation of the poor, he upset the religious elite. And his words of dangerous liberation sealed his fate. He was betrayed and summarily executed by the state. And he decomposed in the grave for three days. Continue reading
By Mark Van Steenwyk of the Center for Prophetic Imagination (Minneapolis, MN)
This piece was originally posted on Patheos.
Ours is a civilized god. He is distant, floating high above the world, refusing to be dirtied by it. He is the Supreme Hierarch, the Ruler of All. The Great Architect, looking down over all of creation and ordering it according to his Divine Blueprint. Of all of the things he’s created, he likes human beings the best. Sometimes he communicates to some of these humans, revealing to them part of his Divine Blueprint. Our primary relationship with this god is one of obedience; we are to do his will so that things can work according to the Blueprint. Continue reading