What happens when a person finds the evangelical Christianity they once were part of doesn’t fit for them anymore? They may seek out a nonjudgmental person to help them process the deconstruction of their religious or spiritual belief system. If the person—the new term is exvangelical—wants to stay within Christianity or still considers themselves spiritual, they may contact a spiritual director to work with. Finding the right spiritual director for the person in the midst of deconstruction is imperative. There are… Read more

It’s not just Hollywood, Silicon Valley or Congress where women are facing unwanted or abusive sexual attention. It’s #ChurchToo.[i] The #MeToo and #TimesUp campaign have a religious cousin known as #ChurchToo—women speaking out about a whole range of unwanted physical behavior from people (mostly men) in their churches. Quite a few women have left church completely as a result of the abuse. The stories we hear from women about groping, unwanted kissing, sexually suggestive remarks and gestures are stories of… Read more

From time to time, I will have guests post here on the subject of “what spiritual direction means to me.” Today’s post is from Karen Richter, the Director of Spiritual Formation at Shadow Rock UCC in Phoenix. Have you ever had a new experience that somehow seems familiar? I have experienced 3 different kinds of being with people that elicit in me the same emotional and spiritual response. Savasana at the end of yoga. If you’re even a ‘once in a blue… Read more

From time to time, I will have guests post here on the subject of “what spiritual direction means to me.” Today’s post is from Sr. Janet Ackerman, OP of Henderson, NV. Ackerman is a Racine Dominican who serves as retreat facilitator and spiritual director.  Spiritual Direction over the years has been my lifeline, my help for character-building, my growth-producer and my path to the Divine.  In the process of spiritual direction, I have come to know that I don’t walk alone…. Read more

Sexual misconduct isn’t limited to the entertainment or news businesses. All of that messy, improper behavior can happen in a spiritual guidance relationship. And when it does, it causes great harm to the person seeking guidance. It can leave them with a seriously damaged view of God, religion and spirituality. #ChurchToo As the #MeToo campaign gathered steam this month, a lot of voices came forward in a similar #ChurchToo campaign, sharing stories of how they had been abused by people… Read more

When tragedy occurs we naturally want to reach out with words of comfort. Lately, so many tragedies—some human created and others of nature—have been met with well-meaning online messages sending “thoughts and prayers” to the victims and their loved ones. When these condolences come from elected officials who could create laws to curb violence or provide adequate help to clean up after storms, a number of us rise up in righteous indignation. We say: Don’t just tweet your “thoughts and… Read more

There seems to be a universal pattern to life, including the spiritual path. Action →      Reaction →      Learning You can find this in biblical stories about Jesus’ healings. He heals a person, religious authorities have a fit over when he does it (Sabbath), and then Jesus has the opportunity to teach about the law of love being superior to rigid expectations. Hebrew scripture scholar Walter Brueggemann found such cycles abounding in Hebrew scripture, especially in the… Read more

Losing the religion you grew up with can be a heart-wrenching experience, and it’s one that draws many people into spiritual direction. The deep listening, unconditional acceptance and contemplative pace of the practice is a lifeline for many in spiritual transition. My own experience is an example. Leaving conservative Christianity as a young adult was fraught with anxiety, guilt and confusion. I had trouble finding people to help me work through my questions without pushing me into their own path…. Read more

To practice spiritual discernment—the process of making faithful choices—you must have as many facts as you can gather. But, how do you do that if you don’t trust the facts you are given? As I write this, the U.S. Senate is considering healthcare legislation not yet analyzed by the Congressional Budget Office, and if you go online to figure out what is actually in that bill you hear a lot of “facts” that are contradictory. If I were a Senator doing… Read more

Evangelical Christian leaders who refuse to accept LBGTQIA+ persons as they are recently released their treatise on sexuality and gender, called The Nashville Statement (and did so during the worst hurricane in the nation’s history for who-knows-what reason). I’m not linking to this hurtful document—if you want to read it you can google it—and I have a few points to make about why I believe spiritual direction should always be a place of radical welcome to gender and sexual minorities… Read more

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