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Spiritual Friend: Reclaiming the Gift of Spiritual Direction Tilden Edwards

May 11, 2013

SFThere is some good advice on how to find a spiritual friend and how to be one. There is also some good stuff on group direction, which is very useful at this time when there is a growth in people seeking spiritual direction and where demand is outstripping supply (even more so now than when this book was written in 1980).

Spiritual direction is no longer seen as an arcane practice for an elite. Any ‘serious’ Christian an benefit from it.

There is a growing unease at the pace of modern life. Some will seek a medical cause from a doctor, some will engage in social action to change, yet others will seek a chemical high from drugs. None of these do more than alleviate the symptoms. They don’t get to the cause. Nor does what passes for ‘religion’ these days.

As one who sought to change the world through lefty social action groups, I wish I had heeded, earlier: ‘There is a pervasive form of contemporary violence to which the idealist fighting for peace by non-violent methods most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful’ Thomas Merton

As one who became sceptical of sacramental confession, where it seemed merely to wipe spectacles for a short while rather than to stop the steam that was making such an action necessary: ‘Focus on confession of sins in isolated from its larger ascetical context can tempt a person to identify confession exclusively with being good or bad. Much spirituality in American practice seems to be in danger of such an identification, turning life into a heavy way of moralism, if not outright legalism.’

Anyone who quotes Urban Holmes and Alan Jones is my sort of person.

The spiritual path is one of exciting risk and the author invites us to join in. “The difference is that vocation bears more riskiness and uncertainty about these. While you won’t be given “more than you can bear,” you will be led by ‘a way you do not know” to become a channel for grace in ways you cannot adequately predict.”

Quotations:

The difference is that vocation bears more riskiness and uncertainty about these. While you won’t be given “more than you can bear,” you will be led by ‘a way you do not know” to become a channel for grace in ways you cannot adequately predict.

The new ecumenism involved here is not between Christian and Christian, but between Christians and the grace of other intuitively deep religious traditions.

This mystical stream [contemplative prayer] is the Western bridge to Far Eastern spirituality.

It is such an innocent, intuitively discerning mind that helps make the Eastern guru and the Desert Abba “master”. Where intimate Source radiates among non-Christians

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