Spiritual Directors as “Good Soil”

The effectiveness of any spiritual director resides primarily in his or her ability to be a gracious container for whatever story the directee wants to bring to that session. I find Jesus’ story of the parable of the sower helpful in explaining this (Matthew 13:3-9). Think of the directee as the sower (the farmer) and [Read More…]

Staying Peaceful when the News Isn’t

One of the most common threads in spiritual direction conversations is “what do I do with my outrage over all the news I hear about violence and heartbreak?” I’ve asked my spiritual director that question a few times myself. Overall, our world is proportionately less violent than it was thousands of years ago. But that’s [Read More…]

Anne Lamott and the Trans-bashing Tweet

The high priestess of progressive Christian inspiration, Anne Lamott is busy this week backtracking and apologizing for a crude twitter remark in which she said (and I will paraphrase)  she would not call Caitlyn Jenner “she” as long as Jenner still had a penis. Since quite a few transgender Christians seek spiritual direction—mostly because it [Read More…]

Giving Away Your Power

Spiritual direction is about claiming your own power and God’s power within you. The code of ethics that spiritual directors abide by expressly prohibits us from becoming gurus. To be the person who gives advice, admonishes or fixes your problem is to take your personal  power away. Never, ever give your personal power away to [Read More…]

Why I remain a contemplative Christian

Although I often work in spiritual direction with people from no religious background, I am no “none.” While I’m open to spiritual practices from a variety of religious traditions and am proud to have close friends who are atheists, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim and everything in between, I remain a committed progressive contemplative Christian. I don’t [Read More…]

Summer Slowdown

Warm weather invites us to slow down but how many of us really accept that invitation? Our jobs certainly don’t slow down just because the summer is here.  We just slog through at the same high-speed pace even as our bodies cry out for a break. It is hard spiritual work to listen to our [Read More…]

Five Ways to Deepen a Conversation

Spiritual directors have five conversational tools we use to help the person we are talking with share more deeply. These aren’t secrets and you don’t have to be a spiritual director to use them. They are especially helpful if the person you are talking with feels safe with you and wants to talk about important [Read More…]

New Life: The Heart of Spiritual Direction

People sometimes wonder if Christians of the progressive, liberal, contemplative persuasion (like me) believe–really believe—in resurrection. Although I don’t usually share Christological perspectives in this blog, I’m making an exception this week. It doesn’t matter to me how Jesus of Nazareth lived on after the crucifixion. What matters to me is that new life is possible. [Read More…]

We hold joy and sorrow together

One of the hardest aspects of life is to hold onto joy while the world around us is teeming with violence. Last Wednesday morning I was having a leisurely prayer time after which I clicked on Google News to discover that a man had gone on a shooting spree in Mesa, AZ  just 20 miles east of [Read More…]

Superbowl Discernment Lesson

We’ve all had a Seattle moment. It’s a crucial time, we have the power and the means but instead of using what we know we opt for the risky move and……game over, we lose. In spiritual discernment it is important to not just gather as many facts about the practical situation but to pay attention [Read More…]