I woke up last Friday morning—the morning after the Senate Judiciary hearing considering whether to confirm President Trump’s appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court—with a cold knot in my stomach. When I first opened my eyes to the still-dark morning, I couldn’t sort out why I would feel that way, that sickly combination of sorrow and dread. And then I remembered. I remembered the bravery, the spectacle, the posturing, the cravenness, the struggle, the whole thing.
After hours of rage-weeping and manically texting with my friends while I tried to get at least a modicum of work done, I calmed down enough to ask myself not just why I was so upset about it, but what I could and should be doing about it.
And the answer is, I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure railing to my friends and eating piles of pasta isn’t it. Or at least not all of it. But even during these cataclysmic times, I still believe in the power of moral citizenship, in the power of deep community. And I believe that there are things we can do to reconnect to the sacred in citizenship even when the broader culture seems to be embracing the profane.
I have long admired the spiritual training undertaken by civil rights leaders and activists to prepare themselves for moral clarity and right action in the face of cruelty and depravity. This class is a cousin to that training—a place for us to both look inward and to one another for steadiness and succor.
Over the course of four weeks, we will discuss how to bring our own particular gifts to political and civic life, discernment of right action, how to build deep community, and how we might find joy amidst it all. We will examine the lessons of other times and other places as well as learn from one another.
I can’t think of a place I would rather spend Monday nights in October. I hope all of you will join me.