“Where is God in all this?”
I am running a training day tomorrow for spiritual directors entitled, “Where is God in all this?” It is being hosted by the Gloucestershire Ecumenical Community of Spiritual Directors (ECSD).
Here is the blurb:
“Where is God in all this?” is a question much-beloved of spiritual directors. However, if God is “in all things” then this question makes no sense. What is the purpose of this question? What are we really asking? What are better ways of addressing this? These questions get right to the heart of what spiritual direction is and what makes it different from other listening disciplines. This day will explore how we we might ask about God with those who come to talk with us.
The God we seek is here. As spiritual directors, our craft is to live this. On this day we will pray together, explore our notions of God, play with our craft, and seek courage to practise Presence.
[See Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, inter-mission, & 5]
It’s about an authority that emerges from yielding not to an alien will but an affirming source … [We] are empowered, emancipated, to use the transforming energy we can exercise by acknowledging our dependence upon an unconditional source of affirmation.Rowan Williams: Being Human, pp. 72–3
Spiritual direction relocates authority from out there to in here.
I want you to enjoy your life. I want you to enjoy being alive. Life is full of beautiful and interesting things, and people, and places. There’s far more here than you can ever possibly experience. Follow your curiosity. Let it be your guide.
I have recently been re-reading Beldon Lane’s fine book ‘The Solace of Fierce Landscapes‘, and was much taken by a quotation from one Barry Lopez who is writing about the difficulties involved in reaching a mysterious desert that symbolised for him what’s most worth finding. He writes:
There is, I should warn you, doubt…about the directions I will give you here, but they are the very best that can be had. They will not be easy to follow. Where it says left you must go right sometimes. Read south for north sometimes. It depends a little on where you are coming from, but not entirely. I am saying you will have doubts. [But] if you do the best you can you will have no trouble. (p.143)
And it struck me that these would be good words for me to put up as ‘A Disclaimer’, for people to read who come to me for spiritual direction.