M-Div and Certificate in Spiritual Formation
I received my Masters in Divinity and Certificate in Spiritual Formation from George Fox Evangelical Seminary in April 2008.
In January 2009 Dr. MaryKate Morse asked me to be on staff at George Fox Evangelical Seminary (now called Portland Seminary) as a spiritual director. I met with seminary students each semester. In September 2013 Dr. Mark McMinn invited me to meet with Psychology PhD candidates from George Fox University in addition to the seminary students I met with. After ten years, in July 2018, a new head of the Spiritual Formation Department brought new rules. Meanwhile, the more I read my Bible and the more I worked on my web site the more conservative my theology has become, so it is a good and natural thing that that season, though wonderful, has come to an end.
The Spiritual Director
Partnering with another person can be an opportunity for growth and understanding in our relationship with God. I have met with many people brighter, wiser and more resourceful than myself, but Spiritual Direction, Christian Counseling isn’t about those things. It is about drawing closer to the Lord, having a closer walk with the Lord and seeking to do God’s will. In my case I meet with God personally from a place of gratefulness. I am a very thankful and grateful person because I believe Jesus Christ has forgiven me, and continues to forgive me of much. Anything, everything of lasting value comes only through God’s grace and mercy, and not by human effort. So too, if God is bringing my meeting with people to a close I can only be grateful for all the meetings God has allowed me to have over the past ten years.
I am a Protestant in the Reformed Tradition, orthodox, but not too conservative, old fashioned maybe, but not fundamentalist, quiet, but not pious, and respectful, but not religious. Once you graduate you can read what you want. More and more I am following the advice of C.S. Lewis and reading and enjoying books by those who passed away hundreds of years ago. I want to know the Lord better and I believe that comes from a better understanding of the Bible, therefore my goal since graduating has been to seek to understand what God is saying to me through scripture.
To any new non-seminary, non-post graduate men who would like to meet with me for Christian counseling, (I was never comfortable with the title spiritual director) I do not want to respond to you from where I was. I cannot respond to you from where I want to be. If I choose to be God I choose to live out of a false-self, so I can only respond to you from where I am.
Like a rest stop on the highway, maybe you need a place where you can pull over, take stock in where you are in relationship to where you are going, before pulling back onto the highway of life. If you want to just talk, that’s fine. If you just want to sit in quietness, that too is perfectly fine. I will try not to direct the conversation, but I am a curious person, especially when it comes to how God is moving in the lives of others so I do ask questions.
I am a student in the schoolroom of life. I am not a doctor with a cure or a pharmacist with a prescription. Although I believe it is appropriate at times to discuss psychological and relational situations in the context of spiritual direction, I am not a psychotherapist, nor do I provide such services. Similarly, Christian counseling is not financial or legal advice and any decisions and actions you may take in these areas are done without my advice or recommendation, and are purely your responsibility.
Meeting with others to talk about our relationships with God has been a tremendous blessing for me. I am learning that how we relate to others, often and in many ways, is indicative of how we relate to the Lord. It has been my experience, therefore, that these meetings tend to be primarily relational. Sometimes it is easier to talk with someone who is not a part of your life than someone who might be impacted by what is discussed.
Reviewing the past and observing the present may help focus our attention on where God’s been, where God is now and what God is doing. If we can discern what God has said, then hopefully we can discern what God is saying now.
My attitude toward God is grounded in the recognition of how patient and merciful God is with me, despite me. I am aware of many of the pot holes along life's journey because I have stepped in most of them. Knowing that God is always moving toward us in love gives me confidence that God’s will is to steer us through the hazards of life and bring us safely to God’s heart.
As a counselor I want to create a safe space in which you can explore your present relationship with God, as well as your desire for tomorrow. I will journey with you prayerfully as we both seek intimacy with God, growing in faith and deeper love. My agenda is to bring another heart to whatever your spiritual issue may be. I have not been called to debate or judge. I respect scholarship, but I understand that I am not a scholar. I’m not a priest, spiritual midwife, or a companion on the inner way. I am not trying to be a soul friend, soul mate or even a spiritual companion. I am in some of these relationships, but I also believe God alone orchestrates them.
If you decide to schedule a session you are meeting with me as your Christian counselor because you have chosen to examine your spiritual life in community with another. I will hold our conversations in strict confidence. Our time together is sacred. I will not reveal the content of our conversations unless I am required to do so by law or court order.
My email is at the bottom of the page. Please title your email spiritual direction or I may not see it. My rate is $50 per session and sessions are 45 - 60 minutes.