Andrew Harvey launches ‘networks of grace’

Via Reality Sandwich:

(Source: excerpted from the Andrew Harvey’s new book The Hope: A Guide To Sacred Activism, recently released by Hay House)

Andrew Harvey (excerpts):


“In a recent article in the “New York Review of Books” Bill McKibben wrote: “The technology we need most badly is the technology of community — the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done. Our sense of community is in disrepair.”

It is essential, therefore, that sacred activists, while pursuing their individual spiritual paths and embracing their own specific kinds of service, learn to work together and to form empowering and encouraging “networks of grace” — beings of like heart brought together by passion, skill and serendipity to pool energies, triumphs, griefs, hopes and resources of all kinds. When people of like mind and heart gather together, sometimes miraculously powerful synergy can result.

Such networks of grace can only be as transformative as our crisis needs them to be, if those who form them work constantly on the seductions of power, glamour and celebrity, and develop ever-deeper discrimination. Learning to discern the real gold of authentic networks of grace, from the false glitter of networks of power and self-importance, is difficult and demands prayer, humility, patience and shadow-work, and the unglamorous ability to wait on results and not force them before the Mystery has had a chance to form them completely.

Now I want to offer my plan — a plan that is already taking shape — for helping to ground and embody this vision as practically and effectively as possible.

About three months ago, I went to teach sacred activism in a convent in Cleveland Ohio. I had been praying for a long time to understand how best sacred activism could be organized and that night before sleep a vision of what is possible came to me.

I was lying in bed reflecting on the success of Al-Qaeda and certain fundamentalist Christian groups. Fanaticism it seems can always organize itself brilliantly; it is the ordinarily good and concerned who find it hard to cohere and mobilize their efforts. This has to change, and change fast, for the Birth to be effective.

From my study of terrorist and fundamentalist organizations I had learned one essential thing — that the success of their movements relies on cells — small individual cells of between six and twelve people — who encourage, sustain, and inspire each other with sacred reading and meditation and who share each other’s victories and defeats in the course of what they believe is sacred action. Such an organization of inter-linked small cells has been the key to the horrible effectiveness of Al-Qaeda and is the key to the reach of the major fundamentalist ministries.”


“Let me suggest three ways you might organize these cells — around profession (lawyers politicians doctors therapists etc. all wanting to devote their common skills to a common cause), passion (for animals, art, teaching meditation for free, healing etc) or as I suggested in the Five Forms of Service Heartbreak (animals, environmental degradation). Any of these three foci could provide an admirable way of gathering like-minded hearts around you and pooling your common resources and creativity together to start inspiring each other to, and sustaining each other in action.

Imagine cells of concerned lawyers working together to see that people trapped in foreclosure get proper legal representation; imagine cells of doctors pledging to work together to give free treatment to the millions now in this country and all over the world that cannot afford medical care. Imagine cells of therapists pledging to gift sacred activists with free shadow-work; imagine what cells of concerned politicians could effect in getting through imaginative energy and environmental policies or in addressing with common creativity and passion such causes as gay marriage rights, animal rights and abortion. Imagine what cells of parents and professionals could achieve to help those going through financial crisis, collecting food and clothing, taking children to school, helping people out of work to find a job. The very extent of our growing crisis makes application of the vision of Networks of Grace almost infinite.”

1 Comment Andrew Harvey launches ‘networks of grace’

  1. AvatarValdis Krebs

    What is important are how the cells intersect and overlap as part of a larger network and community. Also, the cell structure of terrorist organizations has been over-exagerated — that structure is not there as much as we used to think. More prevalent in the periphery, not so such in the core.

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