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Contemplative Reading/
Spiritual Autobiography 

  This course uniquely blends an experience of creative writing, engaging critical race theory, studying feminist foremothers across faith traditions, and nurturing contemplative spiritual practices. It is designed especially to support clergy and religious/spiritual leaders as they work to create a more just, flourishing world for everyone.

 

You will receive a supportive space for exploring your own writing of spiritual autobiography, while learning histories of change and liberation that can help build inter-faith solidarities that support women, trans and genderqueer folks, people of color, and all marginalized.  

Enrollment is open for the next 6-person clergy cohort:

  • Class is held weekly for 6 weeks by Zoom.

  • The live 2-hour classes run November 7-December 12 on Tuesdays from 3:00-5:00 EST.

  • Clergy tuition rate is $1000.

  • Please register soon if interested, and begin reading Pauli Murray's Song in a Weary Throat prior to the start of our first class! 


To Register:  To reach out to register or with questions, please contact Dr. Kimberly George directly.

Artwork by Nancy Guerrera of WildHeartArtStudio

The Journey of Study

Introduction to Course (9 minute listen)
00:00 / 09:18

The Reading List

Texts to purchase or obtain from the library:

Song in a Weary Throat by Rev. Pauli Murray

Transforming the Faiths of Our Fathers edited by Ann Braude

The Tribe of Dina edited by Melanie Kaye/Kantrowitz and Irena Klepfisz

A Border Passage: From Cairo to America by Leila Ahmed

 

(The remainder of the readings are provided to you as the  PDFs.)

The Contemplative Reading/Spiritual Autobiography Course is equal parts nurturing a contemplative reading practice and growing a creative writing practice. It is designed around thinking and feeling with feminist foremothers who changed the world while rooted in (and transforming) their spiritual and religious contexts. This course was made to directly grow your own power to birth your own writing into the world, too.

 

Sometimes, the story of feminism or social progress is told from a secular lens and without pivotal voices, and that omission is a huge loss to our understanding of how the world has been re-created by those who are nourished from and through spiritual life. This course corrects for this omission and empowers you with historical knowledge of progressive religious leaders and spiritual practitioners who challenged all kinds of social injustice and made significant impacts on our world.

 

You will do your own writing supported by these powerful ancestors

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“One person plus a typewriter equals a movement.”

—Rev. Dr. Pauli Murray

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The Intentions and Practices of the Course

This class provides 6 participants with intensive learning and writing support. 

 

The teaching is responsive to the cultural political urgencies upon us, while also encouraging slowness, contemplation, and depth work.

 

Each week has carefully selected Foundational Readings from feminist, queer, and critical race history. You are not expected to read every word, but I hope what you read you savor.  As you encounter the Foundational Readings, you will also be guided into contemplative reading practices. I encourage you to use the class Signal group to share ideas you are having between class sessions.

 

This reading relationship (how to listen to the Spirit, how to wrestle like Jacob for a text’s blessing, how to be present to another writer’s essence) will infuse your experience of the 300 words Contemplative/Creative Writing Exercise that is due each week. This weekly writing exercise is to be sent over email to the whole class 2-hours before class starts.

 

The second half of class session each week is set aside to share your 300 words and to receive feedback. All instructor feedback on writing exercises is given live in class.

 

The Foundational Readings, Contemplative Reading Practices, and 300-Word Contemplative/Creative Writing Assignments support your experiments in writing spiritual autobiography. Think of this class like creative rich soil for seeding connections and projects that will bloom well beyond the course itself, including in projects that mix or bend genre.  

 

This class is both reading and writing intensive. There is a 6-person limit in each cohort to foster maximum engagement of each participant’s writing experience and learning process with the readings. A 6-person limit also allows for each person to share weekly from their writing assignments.

Do I have to be religious or spiritual to take this course?

 

You don’t! You just have to be 1) open to appreciating and respecting the work of change-makers in religious and spiritual traditions, including the authors in the class and fellow participants and 2) open to finding and practicing your own methods of contemplation and deep listening.

My schedule and needs are best for 1:1 work. Can I take this class in a 1:1 coaching format?

Yes! For some participants, a 1:1 Course + Coaching format works best. This is a high level of support for both the study of the texts, the feminist leadership skills, and the writing practices. Please reach out for inquiries. 

May I work with Dr. George in a 1:1 way with my writing apart from this specific class ?
 

Yes! Those 1:1 writing doula spots are offered at various times throughout the year for people who already have a writing practice but who need individual support navigating the psychological process, concept structures, and "in the weeds" details of a large project underway.

I would like to take this course but the time/date it is being offered don't work for me. Are there are options?

If you are signing up with others (such as fellow clergy) and need another class time for the group, please contact me to arrange alternative class times. If you are signing up solo, you can join a waitlist for future class offerings.

Ready to Enroll in the Course? 

First, make sure you have emailed Dr. George and confirmed you have one of the 6 class spots or a 1:1 coaching spot. 

Then, for the 6-person class, please pay your tuition to Writing Doula Services through the PayPal buttons below:

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Read about Dr. George's approach to writing practices in her Syndicate review of Living a Feminist Life: 

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"Sara Ahmed’s latest work, Living a Feminist Life, dismantles the false divide between academic theory and the embodied world in which our concepts come alive... It is an intervention not only in academic feminism, but also an invitation to rethink (and, indeed, re-feel and re-sense) the writing and reading practices we are relying upon to translate the sensuality of life into the conceptual structures of language."

Dr. Kimberly B. George holds a PhD and MA in Ethnic Studies from UC San Diego, with 2 years of additional PhD study as a fellow in Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Social Justice at the University of British Columbia. She was previously a Merit Scholar at Yale Divinity School, earning an MA summa cum laude in religious history.

Prior to these degrees, she studied Counseling Psychology at the Seattle School of Theology of Psychology and earned her BA in English at Westmont College.  She has been “translating” academic theory, teaching writing and the histories of feminism outside the traditional university, since 2011. Her major programs have trained therapists, K-12 teachers, and clergy in applying a feminist, decolonial, and critical race understanding to their fields.

 

Dr. George has had a longtime focus on teaching writing as a contemplative practice in service of deep learning, identity formation, and social justice. Her dissertation, which she conducted while being a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, focused on multi-racial feminisms and coalition building, theories of trauma and creativity, and the psychology and spirituality of transformative writing practices in service of social change.

Dr. George also holds the experiences of being trained in literature and academic and creative writing by many award-winning writers, including Dr. Elizabeth Alexander (President Obama’s inaugural poet), Lauren Winner (bestselling writer and professor at Duke Divinity School), Shelley Streeby (Director of Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writer’s Workshop and premier researcher of Octavia Butler and Ursula LeGuin’s archives), and Sabrina Orah Mark (poet and essayist, innovator of the fairy tale form). Dr. George has been published in academic, religious, and popular publications and is the co-editor of the book, Football, Culture, and Power.

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