The Artist of Possibility: The Future of Community

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The Artist of Possibility: Alternative Spirituality and Religious Adaptation

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We are very pleased to present to you this issue dedicated to exploring new and better visions of the future and the ways in which spirituality might evolve. The idea that we exist within an evolving universe created a firestorm of debate following the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859.

Today, the idea of evolution remains somewhat controversial, although its use in the strictly Darwinian sense – as a mechanism for the evolution of species by natural selection – is widely accepted as a scientific fact. The world evolution is used far beyond this strictly Darwinian sense to encompass many forms of transformative growth, including spiritual growth. It is in this wider sense that we will explore evolution.

Many people today identify as practitioners of nontraditional spiritual paths and in this issue we explore both the promise and challenges posed by these paths.

We have been inspired in this exploration by a new research program started by The Harvard Divinity School called The Program for the Evolution of Spirituality which has been developed in response to the growing interest in alternative forms of spirituality.

We begin our exploration with an interview with Dr. Dan McKanan who leads The Program for the Evolution of Spirituality In the interview Dan describes the cultural context that has led to the rapid diversification of spiritual pursuits and the unique way that the Harvard Divinity School has responded to it.

Next we speak with Dr. Erin Prophet from The University of Florida who gives us an inside look at Church Universal and Triumphant that was led by her mother Elizabeth Clare Prophet. Erin’s candid interview shows how an emerging spiritual organization and the well-meaning individuals in it were led dramatically far from their original idealistic intentions.

These interviews are followed by autobiographical sketches written by two women who both experienced profound breakthroughs as modern seekers. The personal accounts offered in these essays give us an inspiring glimpse into what is possible when alternative spiritual paths are pursued wholeheartedly.

Our art director, Silvia Rodrigues is also the featured artist for this issue. You will find her whimsical and inspiring paintings and drawings throughout the issue.

And as always, we have a number of wonderful contributions from The Mystery School members.

We are always delighted to present you with each issue of The Artist of Possibility and we love to hear your thoughts after you’ve had a chance to read it.

We hope you enjoy!