What do Bill McKibben, Sister Joan Chittister, David Korten, Lester Brown, Marianne Williamson, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Dr. Margaret Flowers & U.S. Congressmen Dennis Kucinich & Keith Ellison all have in common?
All are members/supporters of the Network of Spiritual Progressives & were recently in Washington, D.C. to give talks at the NSP conference held there from June 11 - 13th.
I was there too, & all the above speakers (along with many others; hooey was this a gathering of amazing people!!) blew me right out of the water.
In fact, until I heard about this conference a couple of months ago from my buddy Sandra, I’d never even heard of the NSP. But when I saw that conference line-up, I knew I had to be there!
NSP is a diverse group of thoughtful, caring, committed activists (in the NSP world, as in my own, of course, activist is NOT a dirty word) from a variety of religious backgrounds.
Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist – & also those of no religious faith – are members of the NSP. (You don’t have to be “religious” to be a spiritual progressive. As it states in the NSP brochure I picked up in Washington, NSP is also “a home for secular people who realize that there are spiritual, ethical and psychological needs that are ignored by the secular left, but that are very important to most Americans.”)
Of course, you also don’t have to be American to care about the things the NSP folks care about!
The NSP has drafted the ESRA: Environmental & Social Responsibility Amendment to the U.S. Constitution – & a Global Marshall Plan, & both are well worth a look!!
I personally had an utterly awesome time at the NSP conference. I was repeatedly moved to tears (which is saying something for old tough guy me!) & crazily inspired by the speakers. Never in my life have I seen a speaker line-up like that!!
And btw, all these speakers paid their own expenses to attend the conference & were not paid speaking fees; this is how highly this amazing group of individuals thinks of NSP!
I also met a great array of fellow caring people from all over the U.S. (& a few others from Canada).
We even hung out for a rally at Lafayette Park, in front of the White House, & listened to yet more inspiring speakers.
Our purpose there? To ask U.S. President Barack Obama to “be the Obama we voted for.”
Well. I have lots more to say. This conference inspired a bunch of possible blog postings. But enough for now.
Check out the Network of Spiritual Progressives I promise you; you won’t regret it!!
P.S. For some of us in Canada, NSP is also an acronym for New Society Publishers – an awesome B.C. (i.e., Canadian) publishing company that publishes the very sorts of books that would greatly interest members of the Network of Spiritual Progressives!
P.P.S. The people who attended the NSP conference get that the U.S./our culture/our civilization needs to break its addiction to oil. Both Bill McKibben & Lester Brown spoke to the issue of climate change. Actually, climate change came up over & over again. Clearly, plenty of Americans do get it!!! I’ll be blogging about Bill McKibben & Lester Brown’s talks shortly…
P.P.P.S. I totally forgot to mention here that I had a BLAST while I was in Washington. It wasn't just the speakers who were awesome. I made friends with a bunch of very lovely people, & we not only all got along like a house on fire, we laughed & laughed & laughed! One night at supper I think the group I was with must have shocked the heck out of our fellow diners. Our table of 4 women laughed until the tears ran down our cheeks. Caring about the world (& actually doing stuff about it) is not just challenging & rewarding, it is FUN!!! Only because of the people. People are the best!!
P.S. # 4: Other awesome speakers at the NSP conference: Rev. Graylan Hagler, Paul Wapner, John Dear, Sharon Welch, Gary Dorrien, Rev. James Forbes, Peter Gabel, Rev. Ama Zenya, Jonathan Granoff, Jeremy Ben-Ami, Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Rev. Brian McLaren. There were others who were there as workshop leaders, as well. It was truly the most amazing conglomeration of big thinkers & inspiring leaders I’ve ever had the privilege to take in!!!