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Guest Author: 
Harlene Walker

In Christian ministry, living old truths in new ways had always been a workable mantra for me. Eventually however, from the depth of intuitive knowing, came the nudge—the kairos time—to live the reality of my experiences. My faith-life and spirituality were evolving. I could no longer live in a faith of old truths.

Instead of the doctrines and creeds—faith statements that had been written in the first 500 years of the last millennium—I needed to hear the wisdom that comes from science and the cosmological worldview for the 21st century.

Like a fox caught in a leg-hold trap, waiting for the conservation officer to set her free, I waited for a paradigm change to come to the church.

Guest Author: 
Linda Robinson

I remember the day I discovered my resistance to that four-letter word: “obey.” I’d come back to the church after an eleven-year absence, drawn in an inexplicable yet inescapable way by the Spirit I hardly knew to explore a relationship with Jesus—whom I didn’t know at all. I began to attend worship and read scripture to learn about the faith I’d abandoned. One day, the preacher called on us to go home and offer God a prayer of self-surrender, inviting Jesus to be Lord of our lives.

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

Sometimes, if you’re fortunate, you’ll come across a string of well-intentioned words that not only turn your head, but turn your life around. In 2007, I ran into one such strand.

I was reading, Lovingkindness: The Revolutionary Path of Happiness, by Vipassana teacher, Sharon Salzberg. I was keen on learning more about a blessing practice called metta, a Pali word, for “unconditional friendliness” practice. It is sourced in Buddhist tradition, yet versions of it are found in many spiritual traditions, including Judaism and Celtic Christianity. It is an inter-spiritual practice that supports all theologies. One of the chapters opened with a portion of a poem by Galway Kinnell:

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann, MDiv

During October 2013, my father-in-law died. You need to know a little bit about the family in order for my story to make sense. We called him Norb; his full name is Norbert, not a common name today. He proudly served as a weatherman in World War II.

Norb died in southern California in the home that he bought with my mother-in-law Mary almost sixty years ago. Norb enjoyed tending his roses in their backyard, and Mary continues to grow pretty pink and purple flowers behind their bungalow despite the severe drought that has plagued California. During our weekly telephone chats with Mary, we often hear updates about the drought and the conditions of the flowerbeds.

Guest Author: 
Linda J. Robinson

The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is lurking at the door; its desire is for you, but you must master it.” Genesis 4:6-7 NRSV

Cain didn’t listen to this wise and loving counsel. He couldn’t contain his anger, and in his anger he couldn’t listen to reason or appeal. He felt offended and couldn’t forgive the offense. He went out and killed his brother instead.

Guest Author: 
Helen Kwon

I recently participated in a five-day training in the forest in Sonoma County inspired by the Japanese practice of Shinrin-yoku, or "forest bathing," which is intended to help urban dwellers and busy folks to slow down, bring mindful awareness to our sensory experience in nature, and open to a deeper connection with ourselves, others sharing the experience on the guided walk, and the "more than human world." What I was surprised by was the depth of transformative healing and shift experienced by myself and others in the training. What was beautiful, too, was that the vastness of nature was able to hold the personal and collective grief and longing which came up in a number of significant conversations I participated in around issues of power, privilege, racial identity, and cultural humility.

Guest Author: 
Scott Hicks

My wife has been a spiritual director for a few years now. For two consecutive years she had attended the Spiritual Directors International conferences with an associate and friend. Last year, she won the annual raffle for free tuition, so I went along, too. 

Being a life-long lay student of philosophy and the human condition, I looked forward to the workshops and lectures. The fact that it was held in the spiritual “pocket” of Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA, didn’t hurt either. What I did not expect, was to come away with this lingering sense of well-being and hopeful possibility that continue to wash over my own condition.

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

My husband calls me a worker bee. I am. I come from a long line of farm folk where work is highly valued. I can get a lot accomplished in a day!

I am also a nap-taker from way back. Many of my fondest childhood memories are rooted in rest. Lying beneath the vast blue sky watching the clouds stream by. Stretching myself out on the living room floor to feel the warmth of winter sun pour through the panes.

Guest Author: 
Liz Budd Ellmann

Often people ask, “What do three chairs have to do with spiritual direction?” In one chair, a seeker sits describing his or her lived experience of God, or Mystery, to a spiritual director sitting in the second chair. The spiritual director listens not only to the seeker but also to the relationship of the seeker with a sacred Presence in the third chair. In spiritual direction, a sacred Presence—whom many call God, Ultimate Reality, Christ, a Higher Power, or God Beyond Names—in the third chair exists, even when doubt and existential angst may make a sacred Presence seem invisible. 

Guest Author: 
Janice Lynne Lundy

"It is better to light one candle, than to curse the darkness."
—Chinese proverb

Today, in the wee hours, I was reminded once again of how easy it can be to plug back into the Light. How important it is that we help one another reorient toward the good, the higher emotion, the life-affirming virtues that we carry within us, especially during challenging times.

Today, I am also grateful for a few dear ones who have asked for prayers because they are facing adverse situations right now. I am honored that they ask me to do this as a spiritual companion and friend.

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