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The Wisdom of Atonement

WEEKLY MATERIALS: Lessons, Affirmations, Bulletins

Program Introduction

Beyond Forgiveness: The Wisdom of Atonement is a seven-week study series created for the 14th Annual Season for Nonviolence dedicated to demonstrating that atonement can be the missing key to long-lasting reconciliation in both personal relationships and on the collective level. When linked with the practice of forgiveness, atonement is a powerful tool to ensure that both parties in a conflict—the victim and the perpetrator alike—are healed, transformed, and honored. In this way, the private and public disputes that trouble our relationships and lives can be mended and true healing can take place. When we learn to move beyond the punitive model of justice toward a more holistic and restorative model, atonement is a powerful tool and an agent for long-lasting healing.

This is a featured program of the 2011 Gandhi King Chavez Season for Nonviolence campaign based on the upcoming book by Phil Cousineau called Beyond Forgiveness: Reflections on Atonement, featuring contributions from high-profile spiritual leaders, counselors and activists including Michael Bernard Beckwith, Huston Smith, Jacob Needleman, Arun Gandhi, Azim N. Khamisa, James O’Dea, Diane Hennacy Powell, and more.

We believe that this study series will not only be inspiring but spiritually transformative to all those who have wondered how visionaries such as Mohandas Gandhi, Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and Martin Luther King, Jr., were able to link forgiveness with atonement to bring about nonviolent peace and reconciliation. By contemplating their beliefs and practices, and sharing our own stories, we can open our hearts and together create a more just world.