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Re: [IPr] FW: [IP] Trained Spiritual Director

My initial contribution:  

From:           	Self <email @ redacted>  
To:             	Bonnie Richardson <
email @ redacted>,email @ redacted  pumpers.org  
Subject:        	Re: [IP] Trained Spritual Director  
Send reply to:  	email @ redacted  
Date sent:      	Wed, 20 Dec 2000 21:30:19 -0600  

On 20 Dec 00, at 11:01, Bonnie Richardson wrote:  

> Would you enlighten me on what this means?  What training, by whom, 
> do you do?  How do you direct?  What exactly does that job title do?
> and How do you get to be one.   

A warning - I'm speaking from a conservative Christian point of view  
(possibly even somewhat Evangelical in perspective, but being Southern  
Baptist I'm not really comfortable being called an Evangelical) as a  
minister and as someone who has had some experience in doing this kind 

The title "spiritual director" is an old one and goes back to the early
years of the monastic movment in the Roman Catholic church in Europe.  
refers to a person that provides direction in the development of a  
person's spiritual growth or more normally stated as the person growing 
their relationship to Christ or becoming Christlike.  Notice that I said
direction - not guidance.  There is an important distinction there.  A  
spiritual director is not a coach, nor necessarily even a friend.  They
are a person who can ask questions, provide a reference point and also  
help the directee ask the right questions while pointing them towards  
potential resolutions.  A spiritual director has an interest in the 
as a growing human being while at the same time holding a certain 
so they can be objective in their judgement and actions.  

Generally the spiritual director is a person with a well defined, mature
and secure Christian identity.  Usually they have a well developed set 
skills in theology, Christian doctrine, Sacramental theology and 
and may have received special instruction in pastoral skills and  
psychology.  Most spiritual directors are clergy but not all clergy are
spiritual directors.  Some spiritual directors are monastics - and I  
suspect that nearly all have a contemplative streak a mile wide. A 
requirement is a gift or calling to this ministry - because the 
director has to invest a lot of time and effort into the people they are
directing.  It isn't a "six week wonder" or a "twelve step program" but 
relationship that grows over time.  Sometimes people want to compare it 
counseling or therapy, but it isn't the same type of relationship or  
activity.  A spiritual director is someone who lets you walk alongside  
them on their journey and guides you by helping you find your reference
points, frame your questions and discover your answers.  It's about 5%  
questioning, 50% holding the person accountable, 75% listening and 50%  
just being there, mixed with 100% loving and prayerful support.  
the process involves asking difficult or confrontational questions -  
that's why it requires a lot of effort and prayer.    

Over the past ten years we have seen this practice move out of hiding 
towards more open expression and development in non-Catholic groups,  
especially in Evangelical groups.  There have always been people in all
the Christian groups who practiced this form of ministry, but we haven't
been comfortable with the title until recently.  I've been on the  
directing side of this practice for about fifteen years.  In my opinion
spiritual direction is not the kind of thing that you advertise - it 
a commercial transaction or even a compartmentalized or well documented
activity.  Spiritual direction comes out of a relationship - similar to 
mentor but with a different emphasis.  There is not an outline, program 
checklist that can measure progress - it is a subjective action on the  
part of all parties involved.  There is now acceptance of the practice 
asking someone to be your spiritual director.  In years past the 
was framed as a prayer request or request for assistance in vocational  
guidance or even to be an "accountability agent" for someone.    

In my experience it wasn't a task I took on - it was something that I 
doing before I found out what it was called.   It doesn't seem to be the
kind of thing you can charge for - handing a person a bill for $50 for 
hour of spiritual direction" has always struck me as very strange and  
contradictory. You couldn't charge enough for the time and effort 
and much of the work doesn't occur when the person you are directing is
around.  Sometimes it takes place in well defined chunks or events while
at other times it's a well timed postcard, letter, email or phone call.

I hope every one on the list has an enjoyable holiday season.  Christmas
is a very special time for many of us as we celebrate one of the most  
significant events in history.  Even if you don't celebrate with us, I  
wish you and your family an abundance of happiness in this season and 
coming year!    

 Rev. Randall Winchester WD4HVA (email @ redacted)
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