University of Creation Spirituality                                        April 2004 Intensive NC

Doctor of Ministry Degree/Certificate Program                 April 18-23 2004



Instructor:  Sharif Abdullah, B.A., J.D.


Instructor Bio: 

SHARIF ABDULLAH is an author and catalyst for inclusive social, cultural and spiritual transformation. His work on humanistic globalization has taken him to over two dozen countries and to every continent.  Sharif received a BA in Psychology from Clark University and a juris doctor degree from Boston University.   Sharif is on the adjunct faculty at Portland State University (Conflict Resolution/Philosophy) and has appeared on several international globalization forums.  His writing includes The Power of One:  Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times and Creating a World That Works for All.  He is founder and president of Commonway Institute in Portland, Oregon, and is the originator of the Commons Café and the Common Society Movement.  Sharif’s peace-making efforts contributed to the recent historic cease-fire in the 20 year old civil/ethnic war in Sri Lanka. 


Course Description:


Students will be introduced to the concepts, worldview and philosophy of Commonway, an engaged spirituality that has brought people together across the barriers that separate them. 


Monday:  “The Philosophy of Inclusivity

Students will cover the basic concepts of the philosophy of inclusivity and other aspects of the Commonway philosophy, including:


·        “the story”

·        deep identity and deep conflict

·        consciousness and filters

·        power, leadership and values


Tuesday:  “Engaged Spirituality 101:  How to Stop a War”

Students will cover the basic concepts of the Sarvodaya-Commonway Peace Process, which led to the historic cease-fire in Sri Lanka between the government and the Tamil Tigers.  Students will learn the five steps of the “weaving peace” process, and the seven parts of the “War Story/ Peace Story”.


Wednesday:  “Engaged Spirituality 102:  The Common Society Movement

Students will be introduced to the concepts and vision of catalyzing a global human society.  Students will understand the principles of why a global society is necessary, how it is possible and the steps to create a common society.



Thursday:  “The Common Faith”

Students will explore the concepts and ideas supporting the notion of a “common faith” that would link the world’s spiritual traditions and act as an antidote to the separatism and exclusivity of the world’s religious traditions.


Friday:  “Engaged Spirituality 103:  Social/Cultural Ingeneuring

Students will learn practical tools for catalyzing social/cultural transformation.  Students will move beyond the mechanistic notions of changing social and cultural realities, and will learn how to catalyze change by bringing out the wisdom and genius of people and societies. 


Required Readings:


Abdullah, Sharif.  Creating a World That Works for All.  San Francisco, Berrett-Kohler, 1999.


Abdullah, Sharif.  The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times.  Vancouver, Canada  New Society Publishers, 1991, 1995.


Suggested Readings:


Johnson, Steven.  Emergence.  New York, Touchstone.  2001.


Berman, Morris.  The Twilight of American Culture.  New York, W. W. Norton, 2000.


Alexander, Christopher.  A Timeless Way of Building.  _______


Wheatley, Margaret and Kellner-Rogers, Myron.  A Simpler Way.  San Francisco, Berrett-Kohler, 1996.


Brodie, Richard.  Virus of the Mind: The New Science of the Meme.  Seattle, Integral Press, 1996.


Pre-Class and Post-Class Writing Assignments:


Papers should demonstrate that students have read the course materials and are familiar with the basic concepts.  Personal journals or stream of consciousness works will not be accepted as satisfying course requirements.  Papers are analytical and demonstrate that students understand the concepts presented.  It is not a requirement that students agree with the concepts or the instructor’s point of view.



Pre-Class Assignment:  Pick one or two topics from the list below and write a 5-8 page paper. 


·        Our collective behavior is destructive of each other, the planet and our children’s futures.  How did we get to this point?


·        Can we create a society of enoughness? 


·        What are the similarities and differences between “inclusivity” and “deep ecology” as concepts?


·        What is the relationship between “enoughness” and ecology?


·        Who is your “Other”?  What mechanisms do we use to separate from “Other”?   Who considers you to be the “Other”?  Why?  How do they see your behavior as separating?


·        What are examples of inclusive and exclusive religions?  Which path holds the most promise in the 21st Century?  Which path is most likely?


·        What would a society that actually practiced its main religious tenets look like?  Has such a society ever existed?  Is one possible now?


·        Can we create a Politics of Fulfillment?  What would that look like?  How would present political structures change in a Politics of Fulfillment?



Post-Class Writing Assignment:  Choose one topic for your paper.  Total paper length 5-10 pages.


1.         Identify and discuss ten processes that you think are presently at work to create a social/cultural transformation.


2.         Describe how we get to a world that works for all.  What has to change in the next 20 years?  What has to change in these five processes:

·        Politics/leadership/governance

·        Spirituality/Consciousness

·        Economics

·        Culture

·        Globalization


3.         What are the three major obstacles to a profound shift in consciousness?  What are your strategies for overcoming these obstacles?