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

Caring for people’s physical well-being can be highly rewarding and extremely stressful. Medical professionals may find they need good soul care in order to provide good medical care for others. Monthly spiritual direction is a practice some medical professionals find helpful for processing and integrating their work experiences as part of their spiritual journey. It takes a special kind of person to be a physician, nurse, rehab therapist, pharmacist or part of the army of assistants and aides each of… Read more

Chaplains, campus ministers, denominational leaders, pastoral counselors and spiritual directors are all ministers with a specialty and their needs in spiritual direction can be specialized as well. Some are ordained clergy who have transitioned from local congregation work to their specialty. Some (like me) have only worked in their specialty. Some work regular hours, some are on-call and others make their own schedule. Most find themselves in need of spiritual direction either as a regular practice or during times of… Read more

Addiction recovery can be a deeply spiritual process. Whether it is addiction to alcohol, narcotics, gambling, food, sex, codependency or debt (the list can get long), accepting help from your Higher Power as you refrain from the addictive behavior can sometimes make the difference between life and death. Spiritual directors can be an important resource to an addict who wants a deeper exploration of the spiritual path they are on. In Gerald May’s classic book Addiction and Grace , May… Read more

Spiritual direction is especially helpful in times of great transition. One of the most common and emotion-laden times in life is when a person exits a career and begins retirement.  It is a rich time to explore identity, new callings and spiritual gifts. I have worked with individuals as they approach retirement; in the first few years of the transition; and those who have been retired for awhile but now seek new ways to be of service in the world… Read more

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