Practices for Personal and Societal Transformation
Liberation Spirituality is the integration of action for justice and spirituality. It is an intricately woven journey, a process of action, reflection and contemplation. Transformation comes by grace and without predictability—like the Holy Spirit experienced as a strong wind, at times even driving one out into the wilderness.
Tornado Art by Eve
Liberation Theology is rooted in God's desire for the liberation of the poor amidst systems stacked against them. Liberation Spirituality advances this theology-based justice and adds a focus on practices for personal liberation.
The word Jesus used to call for personal transformation is the Greek metanoia. It frequently gets translated "repent," a word that loses much of the original power. A better translation is "turn your life around," or from the literal meaning, "move beyond the mind that you have" (meta- beyond, nous- mind). Mostly we seem to hear "Feel guilty about what you've done" or "Do some groveling to an angry God." And what is the image that Jesus gives? The prodigal son and a God that cannot wait to celebrate your change of heart.
Some move into Liberation Spirituality through action—they live out a deep passion to break down barriers that prevent people from living flourishing lives. At some point, organizers and activists are drawn to a way to be centered and steady amidst what can be a turbulent struggle for justice. New energy is released when justice leaders, through spiritual practice, open up to a more creative spirit and ground themselves in the source of their deep conviction.
Some start from spirituality—upon getting in touch with God's abiding presence, they are compelled to take action for what is sacred in the world. A worldview of hope emerges, with a deep sense of trust that we are meant to live in community with one another. A fire starts to grow, and they know they must risk their comfort in order to change the violations of the sacred in our communities.
LiberationSpirituality.Net is rooted in the Christian tradition while welcoming the wisdom of other traditions. Inspiration for contemplative spirituality comes from scripture and the ancient tradition of what Jesus calls praying in the “inner room.” Christian scripture and values also inspire the action for justice, including the over two thousand Bible verses that address poverty.
LiberationSpirituality.Net grew out of the rich history of faith-based organizing in Minnesota. Lonnie Ellis began a project called Inward and Outward Renewal linked to the ISAIAH organization and St. Thomas More Catholic Community that created spaces for justice leaders to open to new creativity, centeredness and passion through contemplative spirituality.
Key leaders involved in the development were: Doran Schrantz, Phil Steger, Lisa Amman, Chris Dart and Pastors Grant Stevensen, Jonathan Zielske, Anita Hill, Keith Olstad, Karsten Nelson, Ralph Baumgartner and Paul Erickson.