Joy and Justice: Meet American Mystic-Warrior, Kristal Parks, Part I

We are, rightly I think, looking to our mystic-warriors or mystic-prophets from the past and the present in order to deepen our own callings to stand up to save the earth as we know it and to love the earth more fiercely.  Thus we are hearing in this Via Positiva stage of our journeying from the likes of Meister Eckhart, Hildegard of Bingen, Julian of Norwich, Rabbi Heschel, Thomas Merton, Mary Oliver, Howard Thurman, Bede Griffiths and many other notables who have so much to teach us.

Kristal Parks, M.A. Photo from

But there is another and contemporary mystic-prophet whom I want you to know about.  And she’s alive and well and living in the woods of Colorado!  Sort of a combination of Dorothy Day and the Berrigan brothers (who were her friends and mentors).  She very much brings together the rich themes of Joy and Justice, the Via Positiva and its relationship to the Via Transformativa in her work and her writings, all of which come from her soul of course.

Her name is Kristal Parks and she holds a B.Sc. in Biology and an MA in Justice and Peace studies and received Buddhist precepts from Thich Nhat Hanh.  For ten years she actively resisted nuclear weapons and spent 11 months in prison for her efforts, almost 5 months in solitary confinement.  She has worked with Mayan Indians in Guatemala, Hhmong refugees in Thailand and villagers in Africa. Her current passion is defending Elephants.

Following are some teachings from her short but wonderful book where she marries wonderfully the Joy of the Via Positiva with the demands of  justice-making, titled Re-Enchanting the World: A Call to Mystical Activism.*

Kristal Parks’ inspiring book, available on her website

She writes:

“Our work for the earth, the whale and the honey bee must come out of profound adoration, ecstatic delight and a vision of the bursting splendor that is reflected in the tiniest ant.  Such work and actions must be grounded and arising from joy, ecstasy, bliss, humor, delight and freedom. Not fear. Not urgency.  Not desperation.”  (p. 2) 

How wise this is!  How thoroughly grounded in the Via Positiva must be all our actions to rebel against extinction.

Kristal cites Thomas Berry who says: “The answer for everything is celebration. It’s the meaning of things.  It’s the destiny of things.”  (p. 2)  Again, “The Universe throughout its vast extent in space and throughout its sequence of transformations in time, is a single multiform, celebrative event.”  (p. 82)

She quotes the Dalai Lama: “The very purpose of our lives is happiness and joyfulness.  That is very clear.”  (p. 16)  One can see why the Via Positiva is so foundational to all the others paths along the journey.

And Rumi: “Let the beauty you love be the work you do.  There are a thousand ways to kneel and kiss the ground.”  (p. 24)

And Teilhard de Chardin: “Joy is the most infallible sign of the presence of God.” (p. 6)

* Kristal Parks, Re-Enchanting the World: A Call to Mystical Activism (Denver: Celebration Press, 2003).  To order this short but powerful and joyful book go to:  and, or contact Kristal directly at
On joy and justice making, see: Matthew Fox, Original Blessing, 277-292.
Banner image: “Elephant family on safari” Photo by Justin Porter on Unsplash

Queries for Contemplation

Do you agree with Parks that our resistance and alternative work for the planet must derive from “Joy, ecstasy, humor” and not from fear, urgency or desperation? What are the implications of this perspective for our inner work as well as our outer work?

Recommended Reading

Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality

In this book Matthew Fox lays out a whole new direction for Christianity—a direction that is in fact very ancient and very grounded in Jewish thinking (the fact that Jesus was a Jew is often neglected by Christian theology). Here Fox lays out the Four Paths of Creation Spirituality, the Vias Positiva, Negativa, Creativa and Transformativa in an extended and deeply developed way.

Matthew Fox calls on all the world traditions for their wisdom and their inspiration in a work that is far more than a list of theological position papers but a new way to pray—to meditate in a global spiritual context on the wisdom all our traditions share. Fox chooses 18 themes that are foundational to any spirituality and demonstrates how all the world spiritual traditions offer wisdom about each.

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15 thoughts on “Joy and Justice: Meet American Mystic-Warrior, Kristal Parks, Part I”

  1. Avatar

    Thank you so much for your willingness to share your journey and teach us. It’s a joy to listen to you. Blessings .

    1. Avatar

      Thank you Barbara! I’m delighted to meet you.
      I do public talks and workshops, in case you’d ever like to sponsor me in your area. 🙂 I only charge a million dollars, but for you, a special price. 🙂

  2. Avatar

    The internet addresses for Kristal Park do not work due to “server” problems. It is possible her gmail address might work.

    1. Phila Hoopes

      Thank you for the heads-up! I just checked it out – it appears to have been a server hiccup; the links are all working now on both Firefox and Chrome. Try clearing your cache and opening them again. Thanks!
      Phila Hoopes
      Blog Coordinator

    2. Avatar

      Hi Ronald, I also had problems with getting on my own websites! I followed Phila’s advise and cleared the cache and it worked! Please try me again! And please be sure to add an “s” at the end of Park. 🙂
      Kristal Parks

  3. Avatar

    Parks writes: “Our work for the earth, the whale and the honey bee must come out of profound adoration, ecstatic delight and a vision of the bursting splendor that is reflected in the tiniest ant.”

    I struggle with the cockroaches in my kitchen, especially killing them, and rats in my basement, knowing they can spread disease to my family.

    1. Avatar

      Hi Ray,
      Sure not fun to have cockroaches and rats sharing our homes, no matter how sacred they are!!!

      I hope you can get rid of whatever it is in your house that makes them love being there. My neighbor, with whom I share a wall, has mice. I have none. But I have a cat. 🙂 Long live cats!! 🙂

    2. Gail Ransom

      Dear Ray,
      I assume are referring to more than cockroaches and rats. Surely there are interactions between splendid creatures, roaches included, which are not as delightful as each individual creature is on its own. Playfully, might I suggest that these physically unhealthy interactions between otherwise exquisite creatures give us the opportunity to apply our splendid human creativity to remove them from our homes? Some creatures we admire up close, others need to have their exquisite bodies admired from a longer distance…..As much as cockroaches, bears, bullies and quarantined diseases come to mind.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditations Team

  4. Avatar

    …….thx for the introduction to “re-enchantment” per Kristal Parks……it has caused me to turn again to another source book of “re-chantment” — ‘Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life’ by Thomas Moore (ISBN 006092769-0) 1996…….I have been following the Creation Spirituality for some 40 years (maybe even longer and not knowing it by that name)…….I appreciate these Daily Meditations — esp. today’s comment from Rumi that “there are thousands of ways to kneel and kiss the ground” which describes well my volunteering engagement with Newman Farms on Vancouver Island where I spend time weeding root vegetables, etc. The NF grows food for Our Place (a local kitchen/shelter) for people who live on the street and need nourishing food daily. It is also an integral part of my commitment to RCS VI (Commonwealth Society) as I believe that the world needs more Commonwealth — we, wee, whee, et oui!

    1. Gail Ransom

      Dear D.A.
      Thank you for writing about how you re-enchant your everyday life through gardening on behalf of the people of “Our Place.” I couldn’t help but envision your knees planted into the rows of vegetables as an exceptionally beautiful way to “kneel and kiss the ground”, as Rumi encourages. Not only do you kiss the ground out of personal reverence, but also out of reverence for all life, especially the disadvantaged. Thank you so much for sharing this image with us.
      Gail Sofia Ransom
      For the Daily Meditations Team

  5. Avatar

    Big bow of love and gratitude for Matt’s sharing about my work and all the kind comments and interest in my book. Thank you! (Best way to order my book is to email me your interest and I’ll get back with you about the specifics. Cost of book: $15; S & H is $4.50, domestic) Kristal Parks, M.A.

  6. Avatar

    I appreciate knowing about you, Kristal, and global re-enchantment efforts. If/when you are “in town,” leaving the mountains to visit Denver, perhaps, you might enjoy visiting Earthlinks, at W 13th and Decateur, in the Sun Valley neighborhood. ( Nature and gardening are celebrated by residents who are housing challenged and volunteers who are nourished in this enchanted community/nonprofit.

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