Embodying & Empowering the Prophetic Voice
Updated: Nov 13
Wayne Teasdale, in chapter 7 of his 2001 book The Mystic Heart, writes about embodying and empowering the prophetic voice for justice, compassion, and world transformation.
"The prophetic voice vigorously acknowledges the unjust events and policies that cause enormous tension, misery, and dislocation in the lives of countless numbers of people. Wars; the plight of refugees (most of whom are women and children); unjust economic, social, and political conditions that enrich a small class of rulers while oppressing the masses; threats to the environment - all are matters that should evoke the moral voice and our willingness to respond."
ProSocial Spirituality expresses it this way: "The function of the prophetic voice is to be willing to speak truth to power - to call out social and cultural structures, institutions, and systems that create and perpetuate suffering through injustice and oppression. It is to name, bear witness to, and engage in the struggle to change these systems wherever they exist."
"The prophetic voice is the dimension and expression of compassion that seeks not only to alleviate existing suffering but address the systemic causes of suffering and transform them. Wayne Teasdale tells us that this prophetic function is “the awakened and utterly necessary function of leadership in the area of justice.”
"As our realization of our inextricable interconnectedness grows, we recognize, as Dr. King pointed out, that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” And so we are called by conscience and compelled by our vision of the inherent unity of life to work for justice not only for all human beings but, increasingly, all living beings, including animals, living ecosystems, and the earth itself. We understand, again in the words of Dr. King, that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
“True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar. It is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice that produces beggars needs restructuring.” ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr
"Just as with the many ways we can express compassion and selfless service, the prophetic voice can be expressed and supported in many ways, depending on our own gifts, abilities, talents, and skills. What it asks of all of us, regardless of how we express it, is that we acknowledge and claim our power to be an agent of positive change in the world."
"Courageous acts of personal witness to deep inner truth can begin to stir in others the same profound longing to bring their inner values and outer actions and lives into greater congruence. Because the decision to live in a way that is aligned with our inner values and truth may go against the grain of existing structures and prevalent ways of thinking, we may become discouraged trying to explain ourselves to family and friends who don’t share or understand our views. We need kindred spirits to accompany us in embodying and empowering the prophetic voice for social justice and transformative change."
“There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in.” ~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu
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