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…]

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Spiritual Practices

The MLK holiday is the perfect time to reflect on the spiritual practices that kept one of the most famous civil rights activists connected to God. I encountered this list of practices in seminary when we studied William O. Paulsell’s classic book Rules for Prayer. People of prayer frequently have intentional practices and attitudes that [Read More…]

Holy Terror! Spiritual Guides and Violence

The CNN headline was jarring to anyone in spiritual leadership: “The Paris terrorists were connected to an al-Qaeda spiritual mentor.” As if it could be possible for any spiritual guide from any religion to advise his or her students to commit violence. Of course anyone can claim to be a spiritual mentor. Just like anyone [Read More…]

Spiritual Direction in the New Year

Perhaps one of your goals for 2015 is to explore spiritual direction. Here’s what you need to know to get started. Spiritual direction is a confidential monthly one-on-one session devoted to your relationship with the Divine. The spiritual director’s job is to accompany you as you explore life experiences–challenges, questions, blessings, insights and awareness. Your [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Imagining the Nativity

This is the final day of Advent. Tonight is Christmas Eve and tomorrow is Christmas. We conclude our Advent prayer series right where we began—Praying the Nativity. In today’s imagination prayer, we find ourselves spending time with Mary, the new mother. Mary is sometimes known as Theotokos, a Greek word meaning “God-bearer.” Each of us [Read More…]

Praying through Advent: Lectio Divina on Matthew’s Nativity

There are only two stories of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels—Luke’s and Matthew’s. For this prayer, we will be using lectio divina (praying with scripture) with Matthew’s nativity story. When praying scripture, it is more important that you allow the scripture to speak to you than it is to intellectually understand it. There is a [Read More…]

Praying Through Advent: Praying our Experience

If you feel you are losing yourself in the busy-ness of this Advent season, this prayer can help ground you in the present. It’s really a meditation technique for people who have trouble with the usual meditation instructions (following your breath; using a mantra; concentrating on an object). This simple technique is a way of [Read More…]