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

What Clergy Need to Know about Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is a clergyperson’s best friend. Deep listening and discernment enhance the life of a congregation and its leaders, so if you are clergy, I hope you consider how this spiritual practice can be used or expanded in your work. If you are a layperson, please pass this good news along to the clergy in your life.   What do clergy need to know about spiritual direction? You need it in your life! Spiritual direction is a contemplative, confidential… Read more

Spiritual Direction for the Resistance

A young minister colleague came to me last week and said, “we really need spiritual direction for the resistance–time to reflect on what we are so passionate about.” The resistance of which my friend speaks is made up of humanists, interfaith religious leaders and progressive Christians all fighting the creeping authoritarianism of the Trump administration. And it is deeper than politics, according to the General Minister and President of the United Church of Christ, Dr. John Dorhauer, who recently wrote… Read more

Why I Became a Spiritual Director

The practice of spiritual direction rescued me. I never felt I fit into the conservative church I grew up in, so I set out as a young adult to find a spiritual path that focused on God’s unconditional love of creation. The journey took considerable time. My new path had little to do with the institutional church. I didn’t discover it in worship, bible studies, social justice activism or through the adoption of a new theology. I found it by… Read more

Spiritual Direction and the Most Common Spiritual Block

If I were to poll spiritual directors and ask what is the most common concern people bring to direction, I’m guessing most would say “I want to pray more, but I just don’t.” Wanting to do something but not getting around to it is known as an action block. And with our sped-up, highly technological, “do-it-now” culture I’m not surprised that slowing down for prayer is a challenge. In fact, to be honest, it’s one of my biggest challenges. It’s… Read more

5 Ways to Observe Lent this Year

Many Christians observe the season of Lent with 40 days of a spiritual practice of their choosing. Lent is traditionally the fast of 40 days before Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday, and it helps us clear out space in our lives for a deeper relationship with God. It’s a small way we honor the suffering of Jesus in the last days of his life. Throughout Christian history, Lent has been a time of taking responsibility for our failures and sin—penance—and… Read more

How to Find the Right Spiritual Director

One of the advantages of having a lot of spiritual direction training programs around these days is that—at least in some areas of the country—you have a lot of potential spiritual directors to choose from.  Even with supply at its highest, it is important that you are comfortable with the person you choose. Finding that Good Fit First, spend some time in prayer asking God to guide you to the right spiritual director. Do not skip this step! As a… Read more

How to Say Goodbye to your Spiritual Director

All relationships have a lifespan, and the relationship between a person and their spiritual director is no different. It is a shame when people hang on with a spiritual director out of a sense of duty or obligation. If you find you are no longer growing in the way you had hoped to grow spiritually with your director, then it is time to say goodbye. And it doesn’t have to be terribly awkward or sad for either party. As one… Read more

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