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[IPr] FW: [IP] Trained Spritual Director
Dear friends --
The second post.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Handsfield, James H.
> Sent: Wednesday, December 20, 2000 12:37 PM
> To: 'email @ redacted'
> Subject: RE: [IP] Trained Spritual Director
> Bonnie Richardson [mailto:email @ redacted] wrote:
> > Hey Jim,
> > Would you enlighten me on what this means? What training, by
> > whom, what do
> > you do? How do you direct? What exactly does that job title
> > do? and How
> > do you get to be one.
> Well, here's a brief answer:
> A spiritual director in the most general sense can be just
> about anyone who can help another person with his/her
> spiritual life. At the simplest level, it can simply be
> someone who one trusts and who will be honest in the
> interaction about a relationship with God. At the most
> complex, it is someone with considerable education in
> theology, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, etc. Those are
> the two extremes . . . I fall in the middle in that I have a
> good education in theology and spirituality (I can discuss
> that another time if anyone's interested), and I completed an
> intensive program in direction from the Pastoral Studies
> Institute, now housed at St. Luke's Episcopal Church,
> Atlanta, under the direction of Fr. John Westerhoff, formerly
> a professor of theology and pastoral care at Duke, Fordham,
> and Harvard Universities.
> Outwardly, a relationship with a spiritual director looks
> much the same as the relationship with a pastoral counselor
> or therapist. And the interactions are similar as well.
> There are two fundamental and critical differences. First,
> spiritual direction is not about solving problems,
> particularly if those problems involve interpersonal
> relationships. That would be practicing therapy or
> counseling, and usually requires a license to do so. Second
> difference is more intangible. In a counseling or therapy
> session, the counselor and client have a conversation, and if
> it's pastoral counseling, it includes the intention that it
> takes place in the presence of God. In spiritual direction,
> it's really more the directee and God having a conversation
> in the presence of the director, with the intention (and
> assumption) that God will use the director to speak to the
> directee. Ultimately, the real director is God, not the
> human person sitting across from the directee.
> Spiritual direction is an ancient ministry which was first
> attributed (at least in Christian times) to St. Anthony of
> Egypt, and developed by the Desert Fathers of the Egyptian
> desert around the Fourth Century. For most of the time
> since, spiritual direction has had most of its expression in
> monasteries and convents. It's generally considered
> essential for those called to the deeper contemplative life,
> whether as a religious or not, and probably useful to anyone
> who is seeking a deeper relationship with God.
> As you might guess, it would be very easy for a spiritual
> director to insert his or her own biases and prejudices into
> such a relationship, which is why one needs to be careful in
> selecting a spiritual director. Both the director and
> directee must be careful to prepare themselves, and to
> intentionally build the trust necessary for such a
> relationship to be fruitful. That's also why it's not a
> highly publicized ministry.
> I guess it wasn't quite a short as I planned. 8-)
> Jim Handsfield
> mailto:email @ redacted OR
> mailto:email @ redacted
> The opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily
> represent those of my wife who runs this house and makes more
> important decisions than I do.
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