This morning's cartoon was motivated by something I'm challenged by. One of the most important principles to follow for spiritual directors is that you don't impose your spirituality on your students. The role of the spiritual director is to be observant, attentive, wise and familiar with the stages of spiritual growth. She helps the student progress in his spirituality, again... not by imposing her beliefs or methods or ways, but by helping the student understand where he himself is in the milieu of grace. My first spiritual director was a sister who was the perfect example of this. I remember hearing John Wimber, who founded the Vineyard movement of which my community is a part, speaking about the role of pastor. He said the pastor's gift is the ability to help people move from one level of faith to another. This, I suggest, is what spiritual direction is. It is oppressive to expect people to grow or mature in the same way. It is violence to demand people's faith to look the same. It is constricting to stop people from moving, theologically or spiritually, in directions that seem strange to us. I'm not even going to get into the whole question of whether spiritual growth is progressive or not. I personally don't think it is progressive or developmental. I think spiritual growth is through death and resurrection, so it more resembles fatal trauma then recovery into a new mode of being than growth. Of course, this through a life time resembles progression but only because it is a series of traumas and recoveries. But that is another article. For now I'm accepting my own personal challenge to teach in a way that is not coercive or oppressive, but encourages people to happily recognize their own spiritual condition and to willingly move deeper into a life of love. This is the best way for me myself to be transformed without feeling threatened by the differing belief expectations of the people in my community. But more importantly it is the best way for me to teach my community without violating their own spirits and placing upon them the burden of my own expectations and desires. I have a few friends who are career and life coaches, and they would agree. Check out my tees HERE. I'm growing my inventory all the time. And check out my art HERE.