The New Christians

Mark Patrick is my spiritual director, though we don’t act like a traditional director-directee pair.  I’ve had other spiritual directors, and Mark is different. For one thing, we usually meet at a cigar shop. He’s been a pastor, therapist, and anger management teacher.  We’re going to start an occasional series in which we’ll discuss some of the themes that have arisen in our times together.  (OK, I know it’s not Monday.  I’m a day late on this.  So sue me.)

Tony: Mark, tell my blog readers something about yourself — anything you want…

Mark: I’m a Marriage and Family Therapist, Volunteer Police/Fire Chaplain, Pastor of a small house church called Mustard Seed, Spiritual Director.  I’ve been Married for 37 years to Polly with two adult children Lance and Megan.

Some of the values that are always present in my work with people:

  • I am called to be a pastor:  encourage, guide, affirm, and be present with people in transition, crisis, and growth.
  • Listening is primary in ministry
  • Questions and doubts are integral to faith
  • Paradox is central to life
  • Faith is a lifelong journey
  • Truth is a continual discovery, not a possession
  • Failures are a rich and painful source of wisdom
  • Prayer is our ongoing conversation with God
  • Love is the center of the Jesus Way
  • I’m Looking forward to our ongoing conversations…

    Tony: A lot of people want to get 2009 off to a good start.  I’m one of them, and you and I have been talking about that.  One of the things that we’ve been considering is how diet, exercise, sleep, etc. all affect our spirituality, our emotions, and our spiritual health.  What got you, as someone who was raised conservative Baptist, to consider more holistic approaches to spirituality?

    Mark: I still recall over 25 years ago sitting in a restaurant, looking outside and seeing a sign for a clinic that advertised itself as a Wholistic Medical center.  It seemed like such an intriguing idea at the time.  I had always thought of life as separated between spiritual and secular aspects.  But this was so attractive and so natural.  In the years since then I have learned through my own experience that we can’t divide and compartmentalize our lives.  The physical, spiritual, emotional, relational in our lives all interact together.

    Here’s Mark (on right) with his family, Lance, Polly, and Megan:


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