Pilgrimage through a Burning World

Spiritual Practice and Nonviolent Protest at the Nevada Test Site

By Ken Butigan

Subjects: American Religion
Paperback : 9780791457788, 268 pages, August 2003
Hardcover : 9780791457771, 268 pages, August 2003

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Table of contents




1. The Nevada Test Site and the Socializing Practices of a Nuclearized World

2. The First Journey—Lenten Desert Experience 1982

3. Nevada Desert Experience

4. The Stations of the Nuclear Cross at the Nevada Test Site

5. Nonviolent Civil Disobedience at the Nevada Test Site

6. Antinuclear Pilgrimage at the Nevada Test Site





An account of how the Nevada Desert Experience—the nonviolent protest against nuclear testing that has been ongoing since the 1980s—has created a unique spiritual practice combining religious ritual and political action.


For two decades the Nevada Desert Experience has organized nonviolent action at the Nevada Test Site as part of the global movement to end nuclear testing. Pilgrimage through a Burning World illuminates how the Franciscan-based group has crafted a contemporary desert spirituality that integrates religious ritual and political action to grapple with the challenges of an institutionalized and internalized nuclear world. Ken Butigan shows how the annual pilgrimage to the test site has contributed to the personal transformation of people "on both sides of the fence" at the test site and to the worldwide emergence of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.

Ken Butigan is Adjunct Professor of Religious Studies at Saint Martin's College and Program Coordinator of the From Violence to Wholeness Program at the Pace e Bene Nonviolence Service. He is coeditor (with Philip N. Joranson) of Cry of the Environment: Rebuilding the Christian Creation Tradition.