Offering a history of the diverse religious dimensions of radical movements from the American Revolution to the present day, Prophetic Encounters invites contemporary activists to stand proudly in a tradition of prophetic power. In every period of our history, people of faith have envisioned a society of peace and justice, and their tireless efforts have made an indelible mark on our nation's history. Debates over how the Left should interact with mainstream religion also shaped radicalism. Emphasizing the power of encounter—between whites and former slaves, between the middle classes and the immigrant masses, and among activists themselves—McKanan shows that the coming together of people of different perspectives and beliefs has been transformative for centuries, uniting those whose faith is a source of activist commitment with those whose activism is a source of faith. But I make no claim to tell the whole stories of such movements, and I insist that none of them has ever been entirely identified with American radicalism. Activist spirituality changes constantly, in unpredictable directions, because activists are also encountering the sacred afresh in one another.
Radicalism is more like a religion than like mainstream political traditions, which suspend questions of transcendence in order to reconcile competing interests and build electorally viable coalitions. They had already had their consciousness raised, but they yearned to tap more deeply into the woman-power that, they believed, had inspired ancient worship of the goddess and the medieval healing practices that were stigmatized as witchcraft. His historical analysis is an outstanding achievement, and it is in this look back that we are inspired to move forward. Of course, this is not a survey. This radical faith has always been intertwined with the religious practices of Christians and Jews, pagans and Buddhists, orthodox believers and humanist heretics.
On the one hand, American radicals place themselves in the legacy of the Revolution. My conversations with these students have reinforced my sense that radicalism can never transcend its spiritual roots. For many early 20th century radicals, Lenin's revolution was a vision of the hoped-for future. Others have cheered from the sidelines when men like Lincoln and Roosevelt embraced elements of their agenda. From paragraph to paragraph, McKanan introduces new political and religious figureheads. Their vision and energies powered the social movements that have defined America's progress: the abolition of slavery, feminism, the New Deal, civil rights, and others. This radical faith has always been intertwined with the religious practices of Christians and Jews, pagans and Buddhists, orthodox believers and humanist heretics.
Emphasizing the power of encounter? The energy of the suffragist and temperance movements, combined with mini-revolutions within the late-19th-century church, gave way to a new radical emphasis on urban needs and the labor movement. He covers a wealth of movements and individuals in ways that shed new light on the role of religion in the American progressive movement. True radicals have never been comfortable within the two-party system of American politics, but some have worked to nudge the parties to more radical ground. I hope down the road he'll write a book specifically focused on religion and socialism. But radicalism burns with divine fire. Offering a history of the diverse religious dimensions of radical movements from the American Revolution to the present day, Prophetic Encounters invites contemporary activists to stand proudly in a tradition of prophetic power. Professor McKanan will be on leave in spring 2018.
Other radical debates focused on the value of small-scale utopian experiments, the merits of single-issue organizing versus comprehensive programs of reform, and the best way to reconcile the tensions among liberty, equality, and solidarity. Garrison used his imprisonment for libeling a slave trader to raise awareness of his cause, while Douglass repeatedly refused to leave segregated railway cars until he was expelled by force; Dorothy Day and Starhawk were among the thousands who followed in their footsteps, facing arrest for refusing to participate in civil defense drills or for disrupting the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle. For many activists, radical commitment has been unthinkable apart from belief in God, or from communication with the spirits of the deceased, or from the practice of free love or abstinence from alcohol. The Left as such is not committed to any particular understanding of God or spirits, nor does it prescribe specific practices of diet, dress, or sexual behavior. He also served as lead editor of the two-volume A Documentary History of Unitarian Universalism Skinner House Books, 2017. Prophetic power enables people to speak boldly in the face of brickbats and bludgeons and fire hoses.
My narrative will thus intersect with the stories of temperance and environmentalism as well as of such religious movements as Quakerism, Universalism, and Spiritualism. As Emerson Senior Lecturer, Professor McKanan is deeply involved in the formation of Unitarian Universalist ministers and professional leaders at the Divinity School, and of Unitarian Universalist scholars at Harvard and across the United States. These debates contributed to bitter feelings and organizational schisms, but could not bring the conversation to an end. To keep up with Mckanan's pace, it helps if the reader is in some way familiar with the persons being addressed. People are drawn to religious communities and radical organizations in order to connect their daily routines to a more transcendent vision of heaven, salvation, or a new society. From Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the nineteenth century to Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. As a result, the relationship between the Left and conventional religiosity has the volatility of sibling rivalry.
Radicalism has always had transatlantic and global dimensions, though limitations of space preclude more than glancing acknowledgment of those. Many of the most bitter critics of the churches have been people of deep personal faith, inspired by the example of Jesus driving the moneychangers from the temple, while those who have tried to separate radical causes from religious language have often hoped to make room for persons of divergent theologies. While at times it seems to confine his comments to the most radical of movemen Any time one sets out to write an overview of history, they are prone to skimp on certain aspects and highlight others. Garrison and Douglass were as eloquent in denouncing the sin of sexism as the sin of slavery, and they helped to inspire the pacifists and socialists of their day. Many American leftists have, from time to time, found themselves in both of these postures. As I have defined it, radicalism is concerned with relationships among people, rather than with human connections to spiritual realities or the material world.
He studies religious movements for social transformation in the United States from the abolitionist era to the present. A broad, definitive history of the profound relationship between religion and movements for social change in America. With the disintegration of that vision, the Left has had to turn to a resistance to capitalism rather than an embrace of socialism. From Frederick Douglass, John Brown, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton in the nineteenth century to Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King Jr. This radical faith has always been intertwined with the religious practices of Christians and Jews, pagans and Buddhists, orthodox believers and humanist heretics. They also pioneered activist tactics that have lasted for centuries.