This is a hybrid presentation being conducted both in person at The Center for Contemplative Living in Denver, CO and Online via Zoom videoconference. Breakfast snacks and a light lunch will be provided for in-person participants.
Description of Talk:
The essence of African Christian mysticism (founded in the desert tradition of monasticism) is not taught but caught. Such mysticism is a whole way of life. It is not an esoteric doctrine or a predetermined plan of ascetic practice. It is important to understand this, because there really is no way of talking about the way of prayer, or the spiritual teaching of God’s life. African Christian mystics did not try to systematize the way to God; instead, they relied upon the experience of a lifetime of striving to re-direct every aspect of body, mind, and soul to God. There was no Protestant or Catholic dichotomy of salvation based upon grace or work because salvation was caught up in how the community is so much more than the sum of individuals striving for heaven. And yet, personal prayer and personal salvation could be better understood through interpersonal prayer and interpersonal salvation. This is summed up today through the contemporary lens of African Christian mysticism known as Ubuntu: I in You and You in Me. In short, African contemplative prayer is not only an activity undertaken each day, but also a life continually turned towards God.
About Michael Battle:
The Very Rev. Michael Battle, Ph.D. has an undergraduate degree from Duke University, received his master’s of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, a master’s of Sacred Theology from Yale University and a PhD in theology and ethics, also from Duke University. He was ordained a priest by Archbishop Desmond Tutu in 1993. Battle’s clergy experience, in addition to his current church work, includes serving as vicar at St. Titus Episcopal Church in Durham, NC, rector at Church of Our Saviour, in San Gabriel, California; rector at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, Raleigh, N.C.; and interim rector or associate priest with other churches in North Carolina and in Cape Town, South Africa.
On two occasions he moved into churches located in ethnically changing neighborhoods (to Asian in one and to Hispanic in the other) and helped both to adapt and grow. He also served as provost and canon theologian for the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles. In 2010, Battle was given one of the highest Anglican Church distinctions as “Six Preacher,” by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. A distinction given to only a few who demonstrate great dedication to the church that goes back to 16th century England and Thomas Cranmer. Battle’s academic experience includes service as interim dean of Students and Community Life at Episcopal Divinity School, dean for academic affairs, vice president and associate professor of theology at Virginia Theology Seminary; as associate professor of spirituality and black church studies, at Duke University’s Divinity School; and as assistant professor of spiritual and moral theology in the School of Theology at the University of the South. Battle has published eleven books, including his latest: Desmond Tutu: A Spiritual Biography of South Africa’s Confessor.
In his Peace Battle Institute he works on subjects of diversity, spirituality, prayer, race and reconciliation. Almost since its inception, he has served as pastor and spiritual director to hundreds of clergy and laity for CREDO for the Episcopal Church. He has also served as chaplain to Archbishop Tutu, Congressman John Lewis, the House of Bishops and, in 2008, was chaplain to the Lambeth Conference of Anglican Bishops. He is a featured keynote speaker and has led numerous clergy and lay retreats, including the bishops’ retreat of the Province of the West Indies. In addition, Battle has served as vice president to the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, Arun Gandhi’s Institute for Nonviolence. Battle and his wife, Raquel, were married by Archbishop Tutu and are parents to two daughters, Sage and Bliss, and a son, Zion. All of whom were baptized by Archbishop Tutu as well.
Recording Note: All registrants will receive a copy of the Zoom recording link for a period of 30 days. This recording will be available within 2 weeks of the event. A professionally edited audio or video recording will be available for permanent purchase from Broadlands Media beginning May 1, 2024. More information will be provided when available.