Tuesday, August 5, 2008

My Spiritual Journey (The Blog Version)

Sarah requested to learn a little about the members of our community in regards to their spiritual journeys. My journey began long before I can remember. Ever since I was an infant, I've been in church. My parents raised me as a Pentecostal Holiness. I spent many hours on the pews of First PH in Greeneville, TN. Some were sleeping, some were studying school work, and some were even actually listening to sermons! Every time the church doors were open (day or late night), I was there. After graduating high school in 1988, I started college at Tennessee Tech with aspirations of becoming a chemical engineer. After my first year of studies there, I began to discern a calling into ministry which led me to Lakeland Florida in 1989. I graduated from Southeastern in ‘93 with a severely deconstructed theology. I was so distraught that I abandoned my calling and became a computer entrepreneur. I worked in computers, and I church hopped looking for a place to "fit in" after leaving Florida. Several years later, I found that place in the United Methodist Church. I grew to love Methodism, and in 2000 I became a part-time local pastor. For the past 8 years, I have served the Methodist Church.

But all was not bliss. In 2004 I hit a wall in my spiritual journey and noticed that I had been gradually slipping back into a fundamentalist mindset. I became distraught and encountered my second Dark Night. I am grateful to RC for giving me wonderful spiritual direction during this crisis. I flew to Florida in January 2005, and attended a workshop in Niceville that he was conducting on Centering Prayer. Reading St. John of the Cross and beginning the practice of Centering Prayer was the catalyst for the revival of my spiritual journey. My ministry began to find new life, and I began to embrace the Mystery I had for so long sought to define. I will be starting my Master of Divinity at Vanderbilt in two weeks, and I am so eager to get back into the scholastic environment with a new spiritual outlook. I'm not going to school now to learn answers this go around. I'm going to learn new questions.

RC, my spiritual friend and mentor, has been one of the greatest blessings God has sent my way. Without his spiritual friendship, I literally don't know where I would be today. I am also glad we have this forum to meet and engage with likeminded spiritual sojourners.

Let the journey continue...

Mark

4 comments:

Daniel Sartin said...

"RC, my spiritual friend and mentor, has been one of the greatest blessings God has sent my way. Without his spiritual friendship, I literally don't know where I would be today. I am also glad we have this forum to meet and engage with likeminded spiritual sojourners."

Amen-me too! Thanks for your contribution to this community!

RC said...

Thank you, Mark! I believe we are experiencing true spiritual community with this kind of sharing and mutual support. Thank you for allowing us to be part of your story and its continued unfolding!
--RC

living stones said...

Mark, Thanks so much for sharing this. I knew this story,but its meaningfulness to me is mulitplied in the reading. Also,I liked your line about going to school this time to learn new questions--now there's a useful thought! Blessings, Anna

Sarah said...

Mark, thanks for taking the time to share this and for opening yourself and being vulnerable to your fellow community members. I love the mystery of your story and how the Spirit was weaving into your journey even when you didn't know or even want such involvement with Someone beyond yourself.

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