Spiritual Journey

my spiritual journey
We’ve all been on a spiritual journey at the very least since the day we were born. My journey took a particular turn in the spring of 1993 so that’s where I’ll begin. I’ll make this story short. If you want a long version, well, you’ll have to ask.Looking back, there were several events that led up to the turn.

For one thing, I was down and out. For another, I was attending a New Thought Church in Wilsonville, Oregon and I was learning a lot. New thought? No, thought I. This stuff’s as old as the hills! And then some, maybe. And finally, I learned to meditate. The meditation I learned then, and was taught to me by Richard Haynes, came from the Hindu tradition but in fact is along the same lines as Centering Prayer championed today by Father Thomas Keating or Christian Meditation as taught by Thomas Merton. My teacher said once I learned to meditate the world would never be the same. And he was right.

Whatever the cause, I realized that fall that I’d received Grace. Grace was there all along; what I did was receive it. That made me a member of the same club along with Jesus, the Buddha, Gandhi, the Dalai Lama and God Himself. It gave me a level of trust and confidence I’d not known before. I also realized then that my task as a club member is to find new members and to give of what I had gained.

In 1994, I set out to join the Church’s Crossroads Ministry. Crossroads was a group of lay persons trained in the ways of pastoral counseling. Its members met with congregants in a session of empathetic listening and prayer on a volunteer basis one or a number of Sundays each month. The year-long training for Crossroads was excellent and led to a growing understanding of myself, of others, and of God.

As time went on I knew I was outgrowing New Thought. In the same time period, I met my soon-to-be wife and we agreed to seek a common spiritual home. After more deliberation than I’d seek to share here, I agreed to move in her direction and join the Lutheran Church.

Lutheranism was hard for me. As I once explained to my Spiritual Director and Pastor at Milwaukie Lutheran (and now close friend) it was as though God (as I knew Him) is far away over there, I’m here, and the Church is in between. The Church was simply in the way, made an occasional commotion, and didn’t do much for my need for a deepening relationship with God.

Ultimately, I broke through that. Other than Spiritual Direction, I was helped by a reading of Marcus Borg’s The Heart of Christianity. For another, I was led to a multi-year class, “Seeking God in the 21st Century — A course in Spiritual Direction” at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral here in Portland. It was the spiritual direction part that got me, for that was my calling from “back in the days.”

And here I am, a Spiritual Director.