March 26, 2018

While going it alone can be peaceful, even then there are times we need a spiritual guide. Last week I intended to use the sacred spiral at the Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix as a labyrinth. I entered and began to walk the spiral clockwise because a native friend of mine convinced me that clockwise was the way of nature. My goal was to shed worries and fears moving into the depths of the spiral and feel empowered as… Read more

March 21, 2018

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I love the practice of spiritual direction so much. Because it’s not only my calling and livelihood, it’s a place of healing for me. Spiritual direction – at its best – is a wellness practice. It’s not usually an emergency visit (although at times it can be) nor is it about spending the hour complaining about one’s problems and how to fix them. Ultimately, it’s about taking time each month to open your… Read more

January 22, 2018

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

January 16, 2018

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

December 27, 2017

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

December 11, 2017

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

November 29, 2017

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

November 6, 2017

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

November 1, 2017

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

October 17, 2017

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

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