The Activist Heart | Where to Start
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Where to Start

Activist Studying

Where to Start

For those of you who are not people of faith, take a deep breath. No one is trying to convert you. This is simply an interesting lineage and a fascinating set of connections.

Today’s essay will not only recommend source materials but will also demonstrate the connectedness of issues and faiths, generations and science and spirituality, genders, and, in the end, all things!

Begin with Jesus in the 4th chapter of Luke, verses 18-19. He is preaching about the poor and the oppressed, but he is reading from the book of Isaiah, meaning that his message covered many generations. It is also rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition. This work was Judaic and then became Christian.

Next skip a long way- like, a couple thousand years- forward to a Hindu in India, Mahatma Gandhi. I encourage you to study the Satyagraha, his tenets of non-violence. (Excerpt / Full Text)

These writings help us understand not only the what and how, but the why as well. And, if we are to be effective in our work as activists, we must function on all levels, body and mind, heart and soul.

From Gandhi, move on to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Find “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” and read it. Read it aloud to yourself or with a group. It came at a pivotal moment in the Civil Rights movement.

The letter speaks of urgency and commitment and propelled forward not only a movement but a national conscience.

So, there are the first steps- Isaiah to Jesus to Gandhi in India to Dr. King in America, all interconnected.


And then, along came a remarkable woman named Rachel Carson and a groundbreaking book called Silent Spring (PDF).
What did it posit?
That all things are interconnected!

She did it through science, through research, not through spiritual teachings or politics. From her work came not only the birth of the environmental movement, but the emergence of a female scientist almost a decade before the women’s movement caught hold and strode forward.

The Activist Heart will suggest many more source materials in the future, but start here. Silent Spring. Letter from Birmingham Jail. Satyagraha. The Gospel of Luke. The book of Isaiah.

And finally, here is an interesting tidbit. Gandhi spent his life working to win Indian independence from Great Britain. That finally came in 1947.

On the other side of the world, a young black man nam Jackie Robinson stepped onto a playing field and desegregated Major League Baseball, America’s national pastime. The year was 1947.

It, and we, are all connected.

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