Garden Path

Spirituality

We live in a “spiritual-but-not-religious” culture, and I get that.  I worked in AIDS ministry during the 1980s and I experienced firsthand some of the ways institutional forms of religion can cause tremendous pain and suffering.  I have been fortunate also to experience the beauty and goodness of religion.  I try to hold tightly together these opposite experiences, allowing something new to emerge from their tension.

 

My conscious spiritual journey began in 1979, when the voice of a newly elected pope prompted a textbook religious conversion that upended the life I was living and set me on a wholly unanticipated path.  This led me into (and later out of) Roman Catholicism, which with all its flaws I still love, and into the Episcopal Church, where I probably belonged all along, and where I’ve served as a priest for more than a quarter century.  Indirectly, it led me into all the things I value most in life – especially my family, the encounter with Jung and Jungians, and a personal spiritual journey that in its conventionality and unconventionality has been painful, beautiful, and just what it was meant to be.

 

One of the abiding paradoxes of all this is that I owe much of it to John Paul II, whose voice spoke so deeply to me that Saturday morning -- yet whose theology, ideology, and piety were starkly different from mine. 

 

What this means for you is that I am someone at home in the realm of the vicissitudes of spirit.  I work often with people who have experienced religious trauma, as well with many pastors and others whose life is enriched by religious structures.  Although I am an Episcopal priest, I work with people from many religious backgrounds, including those who are spiritual-but-not-religious, and others for whom religion and spirituality are not a central concern.

 

Since leaving parish ministry in 2014, most of my spiritual work has taken the form of spiritual companioning.  This ancient practice of spiritual guidance, long referred to as spiritual direction or as being a soul friend, involves helping another person focus on their relationship with the Divine – or as the Jesuit spiritual master William Barry memorably put it, assisting Creature to encounter Creator.

 

I began this work in the late 1990s, when priest colleagues (and a bishop) began referring people to me – the ministry picked me; I did not pick it.  Often these were people preparing for ordination.  Today I see a mix of people lay and ordained, as well as those in ordination processes, and find this work exceptionally satisfying.

My vocation as priest is the font from which my work as analyst and educator flow, and so I remain open to expressing it in new ways.  If there is some way you believe I might be helpful to you other than the ones mentioned on this website, feel free to contact me and we can discern it together.