In light of the mass shooting at the gay club in Colorado Springs and other murders among college students this past week in America, we are considering the new book from Adam Bucko, Let Your Heartbreak Be Your Guide: Lessons in Engaged Contemplation.
At least one person has responded that it fits her needs as a recent widow and of course it is integral to our humanity that the via negativa and grief are regular visitors who always have something to teach us. Who does not know heartbreak? And especially at this time in history. How we deal with it is a major story.
The subtitle to Bucko’s book talks about “Engaged Contemplation.” That is fresh language obviously tweaked from Thich Nhat Hanh’s wise talk about “engaged Buddhism.” It offers another way of talking about “action and contemplation” (Richard Rohr) or “sacred activism” (Andrew Harvey) or “mystics and prophets” (my language).
Consider these well-chosen chapter titles from the book:
To be Human is to Revolt against Injustice.
Don’t Try to be Mother Teresa or Saint Francis
Going into the Desert of Our Hearts
Our Global Dark Night
Love in Times of Hate
‘I Refuse to Go to a Homophobic Heaven’
Praying with the Street Church of Radical Forgiveness
It is Time to Fast and Pray for the Future.
The book ends with a number of practical and useful “spiritual practices” drawn from several traditions.
We are now in the season of Advent and Bucko takes the passage from the prophet Isaiah (61:1) which Jesus cites it in Luke’s gospel.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.
The Lord has appointed me for a special purpose.
He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor….
Adam adapts it his way:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because God has appointed me for a special purpose.
He sent me to preach the good news to those who are suffering in my neighborhood.
He told me to offer comfort to those whose lives and livelihoods were devastated by the pandemic.
He asked me to question and re-imagine our old tired systems that are based on violence
He asked me to take a risk and be vulnerable with my community.
He told me that my heartbreaks can lead to joys.*
The book is a fine sequel to the book Adam and I co-authored a few years ago, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation. It speaks to many people’s troubled hearts today.
*Adam Bucko, Let Your Heartbreak Be Your Guide: Lessons in Engaged Contemplation (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2022), pp. 36-38.
See Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox, Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation.
To read the transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: “Works of Mercy vs. Works of War.” Image by Rita Corbin, photo by Jim Forest on Flickr.
Queries for Contemplation
Are you busy “questioning and re-imagining old tired systems that are based on violence?” How is that going?
Occupy Spirituality: A Radical Vision for a New Generation
Authors Adam Bucko and Matthew Fox encourage us to use our talents in service of compassion and justice and to move beyond our broken systems–economic, political, educational, and religious–discovering a spirituality that not only helps us to get along, but also encourages us to reevaluate our traditions, transforming them and in the process building a more sacred and just world. Incorporating the words of young activist leaders culled from interviews and surveys, the book provides a framework that is deliberately interfaith and speaks to our profound yearning for a life with spiritual purpose and for a better world.
“Occupy Spirituality is a powerful, inspiring, and vital call to embodied awareness and enlightened actions.”
~~ Julia Butterfly Hill, environmental activist and author of The Legacy of Luna: The Story of a Tree, a Woman, and the Struggle to Save the Redwoods