Feeling addicted to political news and commentary? If so you’re not alone.  You may need a spiritual detox from the ridiculous amount of information coming at you daily. You may need some help weaning yourself off watching your smartphone for breaking news. You probably need a break from clearing your email inbox of frantic requests for donations. Your system may need you to hit the reset button. Here are five ways to detox from this election: Vote early and get… Read more

For highly sensitive people like me, news in the fall of a presidential election year feels like a sharp and constant hammer to the head. The harsh rhetoric, the reality of the deep division between those on the left and those on the right, the way every single emotion-evoking event is turned into a partisan issue—it’s enough to make me want to run to the nearest sensory deprivation tank. News events, election coverage and strong feelings about the presidential race… Read more

  Spiritual direction takes freedom very seriously. We want to feel free to be the person we were created to be–with as few internal fetters as possible, barriers such as negative self-talk, low self-esteem or dependencies. A spiritual director is trained to notice where you may not be as free as you want or need to be. Some examples of a lack of inner freedom would be: Wanting to change careers but fearful of what your family will think. A… Read more

We need healthy religious and spiritual leaders in our faith communities–bright, energetic ministers who embody joy and compassion and know when and how to draw appropriate boundaries. A new book due out this fall, Sacred Habits: The Rise of the Creative Clergy by Chad R. Abbott addresses a number of ways clergy can lead more balanced and healthy lives. It includes a chapter I wrote on spiritual direction for clergy and today’s blog entry is an abridged version of that chapter…. Read more

Young adulthood is full of adventure and options. So much so that many young adults become adrift in a sea of possibilities. If you say “yes” to one option, you are saying “no” to others, and that can be difficult. Spiritual direction, especially when it’s focused on vocational discernment for young adults, can be a life-raft on that sea. In my time as a spiritual director, I’ve been blessed to work over ten years with young adults in vocational discernment—helping… Read more

This post is part of a roundtable discussion about the new book The Gift of Hard Things by Mark Yaconelli, now featured at the Patheos Book Club. It’s easy to be spiritually focused when life goes well for us. Not so easy when grief, suffering, pain and frustration fill our days. Spiritual director and storyteller Mark Yaconelli gets that and refuses to spiritualize or sugar-coat reality. Yet his new book, which takes us on a journey through many people’s experiences… Read more

The division and violence of the last few weeks compels me to promote the spiritual practice of perseverance. I can feel a collective exasperation on social media, in conversation, even in worship with every violent disturbance we hear about. Persevere in any way that feeds your faith. Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, a Baptist minister and activist who helped coordinate the peaceful Dallas protest that ended with 5 police officers killed by an angry sniper, recently posted a blog entry entitled… Read more

  For most spiritual directors, the directee comes to the director’s office, home or other pre-arranged location. But how do those people who are not mobile or confined to their home receive spiritual direction? The director must either visit them at a distance (phone or Skype) or come to them. For the past six months I have been contracted by First UCC Phoenix to be a “visitation pastor.” So I’ve been turning my spiritual direction skills toward a new population:… Read more

Spiritual direction can be a wonderful, life-giving experience for gender non-conforming people. With the right director—someone empathic and nonjudgmental—it can be a safe place to explore all of who God created you to be without fear of discrimination or harassment (two facts of life for many transgender persons). Spiritual directors who want to be open and affirming of transgender persons need to be aware of a few key principles for the direction relationship to be healthy: 1. Know appropriate terminology…. Read more

One trend I have noticed in spiritual direction over the past ten years is persons describing themselves as non-theists coming for spiritual guidance. There are non-theistic strands in almost all world religions. A non-theist is someone who may or may not believe in God or a higher power. The term non-theist covers a lot of ground—while atheists may be non-theists, not all non-theists are atheists. Some adherents of nature religions may believe in a creative force but not any particular… Read more

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