In 2016 a group of artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and community organizers came together to build a community-centered, self-directed alternative to divinity school.
It's an alternative in several ways. First, it's been formed at the grassroots and is not tied to one institution. Second, it's for the religiously nonaffiliated, the devout, as well as those who draw from multiple wisdom traditions. Third, it's up to us, and the outside communities and mentors we bring together, to plan what our learning looks like, to hold ourselves accountable to doing it, and to harvest the lessons learned and celebrate milestones with others.
Through all this, we're uncovering a rich learning landscape for the people, communities, and institutions interested in re-imagining spiritual formation in a changing world.
We're here because...
New generations of leaders need relevant learning communities.
Spiritual leadership, community building, and care are being done by a lot of people who aren't what you'd expect― they aren't rabbis, nuns, ministers, or yoga teachers.
As the nones on the rise phenomenon continues, many religiously unaffiliated individuals are creating new ways of community and meaning-making. These leaders are essentially ministers and chaplains by another name, but what does training for them look like?
We've got one foot in the ancient, and one in the emergent.
To build a healthy ecosystem of theological education in the 21st century, we need the wisdom of both traditional institutions and innovators at the edges. Alt*Div is seeding a learning exchange across these different communities.
Our world is in moral and spiritual crisis.
There is a deep rupture in American society, and it's not because of politics or ideology. We're more alone and less connected to what matters (and to each other) than ever. It's the root of our many accelerating crises―social, political, economic, ecological. But none of these divides will heal if we don't start with ourselves.
We need to build communities that can hold the weight of difference, the pain of oppression, and the depth of humanity―and we don't think there's a shortcut.
Authentic, human-rooted leadership will get us there; but we need to build a better leadership pipeline.