The world’s religious traditions can be powerful resources for the struggle for liberation, but only when they are grounded in, read out of, and discovered through that very same struggle. These traditions can be, and often are, twisted and abused to justify poverty, divide people against each other, and defend unholy systems like slavery, apartheid, and religious nationalism. 

The religions program at Kairos seeks to both hold up and develop the liberating understanding of religions emerging through social struggles of the poor and dispossessed, and reject and confront the forces that distort these moral narratives and traditions. 

Reading the Bible with the Poor Cohort

The Reading the Bible with the Poor Cohort is a diverse collective of religious leaders, scholars, and grassroots organizers committed to discovering and lifting up the liberative theology emerging through the struggles of the poor and dispossessed. The cohort is also committed to confronting the false moral narrative of religious nationalism and distorted theologies that blame the poor for their poverty. The cohort is guided by the methodology of reading the Bible and all of our religious texts from the perspective of the marginalized and oppressed. The cohort gathers to study, develop moral leadership, and produce resources for movements.

Freedom Church of the Poor

The Freedom Church of the Poor grew out of the Reading the Bible with the Poor Cohort at Kairos and is led by many of the cohort’s members. It follows a much longer tradition of church being inseparable from the active struggle for justice in our world. The Freedom Church of the Poor is dedicated to being a spiritual community of movement leaders and to providing space for spiritual grounding, reflection, and pastoral care to movement leaders.

The Freedom Church of the Poor helps identify and develop moral/spiritual leadership for the struggle to end poverty, systemic racism, ecological devastation, militarism, and the false moral narrative of Christian nationalism. In addition to weekly online services that reach thousands of people, the Freedom Church holds regular Bible study, and is developing ways to provide ongoing prayer and support to the church community.

La Iglesia del Pueblo

Inspired by the Freedom Church, La Iglesia del Pueblo is a Spanish language sister church conceived and organized by Spanish-speaking leaders from the Kairos network and the Poor People’s Campaign. La Iglesia del Pueblo meets online weekly, and once a month joins the Freedom Church of the Poor for a bi-lingual service. It provides a similar venue for spiritual care and reflection, and space for organizing and developing moral and spiritual leadership in the movement.