Many years ago when I was training to be a spiritual director, the kindly Sister who led the program made it very clear to us that spiritual guidance over the telephone was not acceptable. More specifically, that good spiritual guidance could not happen unless two people were face-to-face and the “third chair” was physically present in the room.
Today, I know better and do offer spiritual guidance via Skype or over the telephone. I have found it to be a very useful modality benefitting some seekers, in some situations, but not all. Without a doubt, it can have a providential outcome as I have experienced with seekers outside the U.S. (my home), homebound seekers, and those whose lives present varied and difficult circumstances in terms of travel, child-care needs, or work schedules. Grace can move through the ethers across telephone lines and satellite networks. Who are we to say it can’t?
Because of Islamic teaching's discouragement of the representation of humans, particularly Muhammad, Wikipedia's entry about the Prophet has generated a storm of controversy because it includes representations of Muhammad taken from medieval manuscripts. The New York Times reports that in addition to numerous e-mails, the article has generated on online petition with more than 80,000 signatures (although it is not clear that all the signatures are unique).
Julie is a spiritual director, psychotherapist, and mom. Her love for dance has led her step by step on quite a journey of the soul (and sole). Her article, "God Danced the Day You Were Born" was published in the anthology, Jewish Spiritual Direction, by Barbara Breitman and Rabbi Avruhm Addison. She is on the core faculty of Lev Shomea, a Jewish spiritual direction training program in residence at Elat Chayyim retreat center in Connecticut.
In the January 18 issue of Commonweal, Rita Ferrone writes about "A Common Word between Us and You"—an open letter originally signed by a group of 138 Muslim scholars, religious leaders, and intellectuals and written to all Christian churches, denominations, and
individuals. She writes:
Jennifer (Jinks) Hoffmann was born in 1943 and was raised in South Africa. She and her husband Alan immigrated to Canada in 1966, where they have lived since. She is a psychotherapist and a spiritual director in private practice in Toronto. From 2001-2003 Jinks trained to become a spiritual guide in a program called Lev Shomea, which means “listening heart” in Hebrew.
Sherman YL Kuek, a Malaysian lecturer in systematic and contextual theology, blogs about pursuing a vocation in ministry. His perspective is Christian, but his thoughts could be applied to any institutional religion.
In seeking direction for one’s ministerial vocation, one’s preoccupation should not be fixated upon the ecclesiastical hierarchy itself. If being a part of the ecclesiastical hierarchy is necessary for one’s ministerial effectiveness, one should be willing to embrace this “call”. But if not, one’s primary consideration should rest on how one may most effectively contribute to the betterment of the wider church in the longer run, even if this is bound to take place to the detriment of one’s own “career development”.
Please take a moment to evaluate the June 2007 issue of Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction. To participate in the current evaluation, click here and follow the online instructions.
John writes fiction, poetry, and music that arises from the well of silence. He has practiced psychotherapy, taught psychology and conflict resolution, and facilitated spiritual groups for twenty years. All his work is oriented to inviting people to discover the essential, unconditioned Self. He lives in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, USA, with his wife and a family of animals.