Redefining Spirituality, One Church For All|andreea Nica

AM I CRAZY?? The program sent out bios of my new cohort. I joked with my spiritual director, singing that Sesame Street ditty, One of these things is not like the other. . . Not only am I the only person of color, but everyone else reads like theyre extremely spiritual AND religious. Even my new pastor said recently (in a very nice way) that spiritual direction seemed not within either my personality or gift mix. Case in point: we were given a reading list. Susan, the director of the program, encouraged me to Chew on the readings. They werent fast food, but deep spiritual truths that needed savoring. Jesus used a lot of agricultural imagery because growing in God and maturity just takes time, patience, a lot of sun, water, fertilizer, and trusting that God somehow creates a crop. I really wanted to chew very very slowly. But despite the free time of my sabbatical, kid issues , high school graduation , helping my kid get a job , taking my parents to see their siblings, incessantly making photobooks before the coupons expired, all conspired so that I found myself a week before the deadline cramming spiritual books as if I was back in college during reading period. Im sure the other spiritual directors in my cohort werent the types who crammed in college. . Most of these retreats involved, if not, evoked speaking in tongues (glossolalia), healing through fervent prayer, and being slain in the Holy Spirit (trances and intense mediation). Spiritual Women's Retreat, Rainbow Lodge, North Bend, WA. The spiritual retreat in early May attracted nearly 30 women. It was held at the Rainbow Lodge , a retreat center encircled by a myriad of trails at the base of colossal Mount Si . The theme was "Spread your Wings and Soar" focused on the Butterfly Maiden, the Hopi Kachina (Nature Spirit), who governs the spring season. Intentions The first night we were asked to bring an item that honors the Divine Feminine to add to the community altar. In addition, we were asked to consider our intention for attending the retreat -- what we hoped to achieve or actualize. Following introductions, we participated in a releasing prayer, along with a releasing fire ceremony to work towards renewal and transformation. My intention was to release the pain and betrayal I still felt from my former faith. With our written release statements in hand, each one of us took turns discarding our statements into the igniting fire.