Seminary of the Street

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At Seminary of the Street, we believe that spiritual formation is at the heart of social change work. Below are links to some resources that both explain why and can help us do the work.

Deprivatizing Suffering
How is your personal sadness, trauma, or woundedness connected to the social and political forces that shaped your family? Try this exercise to gain more understanding of the sources of your "personal" pain and to find potential solidarity and mutual support from hundreds of thousands of people around the world.

There Is a Balm in Gilead
 How is it that those of us in liberal/progressive circles have marched and petitioned and organized and written letters and rallied, and still there is so much suffering? Listen to the audio file of this groundbreaking sermon by Rev. Lynice Pinkard of First Congregational Church of Oakland.

Love's Labor
What can today's social change activists learn from the prophet Jonah? (Yes, he's the one who got swallowed by the whale.) Click here for the audio file of a sermon by Seminary of the Street founder Nichola Torbett. 

Toward Intimacy and Solidarity with All Life: A Seeker's Guide to Lent
We all know that Christianity has been used to do tremendous harm and to further imperial aims. Is there anything worth salvaging from this tradition? We think that the deep reflection and “getting-real-ness” of Lent may be. Like Ramadan for Muslims and the month of Elul (the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur) for Jews, Lent is a season for taking a hard look at how well one is doing at “acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with one’s God.”  Many people choose to “give something up” for Lent (chocolate, television, etc.). When this is done, not as an empty exercise, but as a means of stripping away the mechanisms we use to avoid intimacy with ourselves and others, the practice can foster incredible spiritual transformation.

Seminary of the Street has developed a workbook for Lent (February 25-April 11) that offers exercises, practices, and reflections designed to help you move toward intimacy and solidarity with all life. You don’t have to be Christian to benefit from the workbook, though it does use Christian and Jewish scripture as a tool to stimulate reflection. Although the book is geared toward a particular season, it could be used for any six-week period.

To order the workbook, send a check for $5, plus your name and address, to Seminary of the Street, 329 41st. St, Oakland, CA 94609. Any additional money you send beyond the $5 cost of the book will be tax deductible.

From Intimacy to Revolution
Have you noticed how Christianity is often rendered harmless, even sentimental, by a focus on personal, pietistic practice? Do we have to abandon a personal relationship with the Spirit in order to maintain the radical power of Jesus' message? In this article, prison chaplain Chris Hoke brings together Christianity's revolutionary potential with the need for deep personal spiritual practice. 

Somatics and Social Change
Staci Haines gives a talk about somatics, spirituality, and social change.

Queering the Family
The fight for gay marriage will continue despite the setback incurred with the passage of Proposition 8 in California in 2008, but we queer folk also need to ask ourselves what we want to marry FOR, what we want to form familes FOR. In this article, Seminary of the Street director Nichola Torbett and Rev. Lynice Pinkard of First Congregational Church of Oakland discuss the revolutionary potential of queer families.

Related Links

The following individuals and organizations are doing work that we feel is closely aligned with our mission. Visit them!

Underground Seminary in Minneapolis, MN

Love in Dangerous Times

Vanissar Tarakali: Embodied Education for Healing and Social Justice

East Bay Meditation Center

First Congregational Church of Oakland

Beyt Tikkun


God Bless the Whole World: Spiritual Activism for the 21st Century

Institute of Urban Homesteading

Upaya Chaplaincy Institute


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