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

Spiritual directors are seeing more and more people these days who live out their call in the marketplace. Most spiritual directors understand the working of God’s spirit in all walks of life—no more separation of secular and sacred. Individuals are called to be ethical and caring entrepreneurs and business people just as often (maybe more so) than they are called to a life of professional ministry. People at all levels of business, finance and retail have lively and important spiritual paths… Read more

Although spiritual direction is for anyone who wants it, there are special populations that seem to find the practice almost essential. Such as people preparing for, attending or just coming out of theological seminary. Seminarians have special needs because they are confronting content that challenges and enriches their faith life daily.  Many come to spiritual direction for grounding—they need one person in their life who will listen deeply, not judge and help them process what they are learning. Some seminarians… Read more

According to history and legend, the people of Iceland converted to Christianity in 1000 after their chieftains left the decision up to the “Lawspeaker,” their version of a one-man Supreme Court . His discernment method? Burrowing under his cloak for an entire 24 hours to think the matter through. At first read, it struck me as nonsense. But the notion stayed with me. As a discernment method, it holds up.  The Viking Lawspeaker:   Removed himself from daily concerns. Allowed… Read more

While reading the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book the other day I was stopped in my tracks.  In it, the writer says an alcoholic should never pray for himself or herself only, but should only pray to know God’s will and the strength to carry it out.  While I understand that addiction makes people self-centered, I was startled at how emphatic AA is about keeping the focus off the individual. Theology of Prayer My own theology of prayer is somewhat different,… Read more

When a pilgrim begins the 800 kilometer trek along the legendary Camino de Santiago, they are asked to announce the purpose of their walk. Their choices are spiritual, religious or adventure. Which is a beautiful question to ask in spiritual direction since we are all on this pilgrimage called life. What is nature of your life’s path? Spiritual, religious or adventure? I began sitting with that question after reading Sonia Choquette’s new memoir Walking Home about the healing she experienced walking… Read more

For one of the most jarring and accurate depictions of the stages of freedom, I recommend spending 89 minutes one day watching the documentary The Wolfpack (streaming now on Netflix).  It’s an exploration of the lives of six Angulo brothers—exceptionally bright and creative—who were homeschooled by their mother in their Lower East Side apartment and kept virtually imprisoned there by their father for 14 years. During those years, the family only left the apartment a handful of times. The boys… Read more

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