John Backman is a guest writer whose voice we’re honored to share. You can read more about John in his bio at the end of the piece.
I keep making this one mistake in providing spiritual direction. Weirdly, it’s the same mistake a lot of us make when dealing with people on the other side of a hot-button issue, like faith and sexuality.
In my first meeting with a new client, I inevitably ask, “What brings you to spiritual direction?” This question has as many answers as there are people. One person may need more shape or direction to her prayer life. Another may be struggling to hear God’s will. Whatever the case, most people have a “presenting issue” to bring to spiritual direction, and it comes out here.
At this point, I assume we’ll work through the issue for a few months, maybe even a year, get it squared away, and then go deeper into this person’s walk with the Lord.
You’ve spotted the mistake, right?
Justin Barringer is a guest writer whose voice we’re honored to share. You can read more about Justin in his bio at the end of the piece.
Today as I was frantically trying to finish up some writing for a major project I had the TV on the in the background and Facebook open in another window. I was switching among the coverage of the American presidential inauguration, the commentary of my social media friends, and the document I needed to complete. I felt like I needed to say something because I have seen so many well-meaning Christian friends (and perhaps a few with less beneficent intentions) offer up words of apparent comfort but that have come across as mere aphorisms at best and as disdainful toward marginalized and frightened people at worst. Here is what I wrote.
John Backman is a guest writer who’s voice we’re honored to share. You can read more about John in his bio at the end of the piece.
If, standing somewhere in the maelstrom of faith, sexuality, and gender, you’ve listened deeply to your own heart, you may have heard a question like one of these:
- Could I possibly be gay?
- My daughter just told me she’s a boy. What if she’s right?
- If my beliefs on homosexuality are wrong, what else might I be wrong about?
- Can I ever come back to faith while still being fully myself?
- Can I even be a Christian and have these thoughts?
- How am I going to deal with this?
The unsettling questions have ambushed us all, whatever our beliefs, whatever our truth. They may start as vague, whispered doubts. But we know they have the power to turn our lives upside down. That makes them fearsome—even more so if we dare to consider that maybe, just maybe, those whispered doubts are the “still small voice” Elijah heard (1 Kings 19:11-12, KJV).
Many people try to ignore the unsettling questions. Others write them off as Satan’s work. But what if you’re not convinced? What if you decide they deserve a hearing?