Discernment in a Fake News World

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

Spiritual Direction and a Rejection of the Nashville Statement

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

Praying for Peace in a Frightening World

If the threats of nuclear war are getting to you and you need a new way to pray about the world’s frightening situation, you are not alone. It’s been hard to pray lately. The God I believe in calls peacemakers the children of God. So, when I hear people who claim to be Christians telling the President that God wants him to use force against another country, I get scared, mad and end up feeling powerless. But there are ways… Read more

Why You Don’t Need a Spiritual Director to “Call You on Your Stuff”

When seeking a spiritual director, people sometimes say they want one who will “call them on their bad behavior.” What they mean is they have destructive habits or believe that they are deceiving themselves and want someone to challenge them around those issues. Spiritual directors rarely do anything of that nature. At least most of us don’t. Why is that? If you ask for it, why won’t we provide it? We Are Not Your Mother And you are not a… Read more

Holding Feet to the Fire: The Role of Accountability in Spiritual Direction

Occasionally I hear someone say they want a spiritual director who will “hold their feet to the fire,” meaning one who will challenge them, push them or hold them accountable to some self-determined standard. While the metaphor of “feet to fire” seems a little harsh (I prefer non-violent metaphors), I do understand that the covenant relationship between spiritual director and client involves personal responsibility – a whole lot on the part of the director but also some on the part… Read more

Spiritual Direction in an Anxious World

Spiritual direction is not a cure for anxiety but anxiety frequently comes up as people share their life stories with a spiritual director. In those moments of anxiety—even panic—the response of a caring, compassionate and non-anxious spiritual director can make a difference. The Mayo Clinic describes anxiety as “intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations.” Anxiety be mildly annoying or it can seriously impair a person. Much has been written lately about how the current decade is… Read more

Conversion from Hate to Love

I’m always interested in how to change the world—especially how to assist people who are consumed with hate to convert to a spirituality based in love. And since hate-filled people rarely go to spiritual direction, and all my friends are of the loving variety, it took the resurfacing of a 2015 article in the New Yorker to show me the way. If you have not already seen this piece, I highly recommend you take a break today from the contentious… Read more

Keeping Faith in the Midst of Fear

I’m going to get political here because, like a Cecily Strong character on Saturday Night Live said recently, “I want one day without a CNN alert that scares the hell out of me, all right?” Yes, I’m afraid and it’s hard to keep the faith. Most of the people I know are afraid and many of those I work with in spiritual direction are afraid or at least bothered by threatened cuts to Medicaid, health insurance benefits, disability insurance; a… Read more

Is Media Overload Dulling your Spirit?

Confession time. I’m addicted to refreshing my twitter feed. And the result is I’m on media overload, a spiritual condition many find themselves in these days. Media overload is when your eyes glaze over because you’ve been reading or watching too much news. It’s when you can’t stand to be away from your smartphone in case something new happened in the last five minutes. I felt it after 9/11, during the 2008 and 2016 presidential elections and I feel it… Read more

Who are we doing all this for? God-talk on The Leftovers

The urge to speak with God face to face and understand great mysteries is a thread running through HBO’s third season of the dystopian religious drama “The Leftovers.” Last week, in episode 5 of the show’s final season, Episcopal priest Matt Jamison (played by Christopher Eccleston) finally gets a chance to unburden himself to God. Although the man in the red hat who calls himself God, David Burton, is pretty obviously not God (Matt saw him toss a man overboard on… Read more

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