Mysticism and Activism

at Union Theological Seminary
Broadway & 120th Street
New York, NY
More Info / Registration

Can meditation (and contemplative practice in general) dampen the activist impulse? Does spirituality encourage detachment from the world’s problems? Or can mystical practice inform and energize political activism? Union Theological Seminary Visiting Professor of Science and Religion Robert Wright moderates a panel discussion on mysticism and activism.  Featuring:

DENA MERRIAM is the Founder and Convener of Global Peace Initiative of Women. She serves on the boards of the Interfaith Center of New York, AIM for Seva and Dharma Drum Mountain Buddhist Association. Merriam is a former member of the board of Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions and the International Center for Religion and Diplomacy. She is also Co-Chair of the Millennium World Peace Summit, the first summit held at the United Nations General Assembly for more than 1500 of the world’s religious leaders.

RABBI DR. JAY MICHAELSON, is Affiliated Assistant Professor at Chicago Theological Seminary, and author of The Gate of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path. He is a columnist for The Daily Beast and the Forward newspaper, and has been a professional LGBT activist and Jewish activist for fifteen years. Michaelson’s contemplative background includes twelve years in the dharma, including several long-term vipassana retreats in the United States and Nepal. He is affiliated with the Practical Dharma movement and the Contemplative Development Mapping Project, and also holds nondenominational rabbinic ordination.  Michaelson received his PhD in Jewish Thought from Hebrew University of Jerusalem, a JD from Yale Law School, and a BA from Columbia. He has held teaching positions at Yale University, City College, Harvard Divinity School, and Boston University Law School.

GREG SNYDER co-founded Brooklyn Zen Center in 2005 and is its current President. He was ordained as a Zen Buddhist priest by Soshin Teah Strozer in 2010. Snyder has been practicing Zen since 1998 and received his early training at Austin Zen Center under the guidance of Seirin Barbara Kohn. Snyder is active with multiple interfaith and community networks organizing around peace-building, anti-violence and social justice initiatives, and currently sits on the Brooklyn Borough President’s Advisory Council on Faith-based and Community Partnerships.

ROBERT WRIGHT is the author, most recently, of The Evolution of God, which was a New York Times bestseller and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His other books include The Moral Animal, which The New York Times Book Review named one of the ten best books of 1994, and Nonzero, which Bill Clinton called “astonishing” and instructed White House staff members to read. In 2009 Wright was named by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the top 100 global thinkers. Wright has written for The Atlantic, The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Policy, and the op-ed pages of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Financial Times. His books have been translated into more than a dozen languages, and his awards include the National Magazine Award for Essay and Criticism. Wright is Visiting Professor of Science and Religion at Union Theological Seminary in New York, and is editor-in-chief of the websites and