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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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