Hello There ~
Just a little about me here, in case you are wondering. I am a spiritual director and spiritual formation minister for adults, a 31 year veteran of youth ministry, a husband and father. I live in the beautiful town of Colorado Springs, Colorado, which serves as base camp for all of the hiking and fly fishing that I get to do. My wife and two sons and I also find living here a great advantage to visiting so many of our nation’s National Parks and wild spaces. And we sure enjoy spending time at the gorgeous John Wesley Ranch, just on the other side of Pike’s Peak from here.
I have served in full time ministry for over 2.5 decades. Over the years, I have been fortunate to have studied with the following folks, whom I count as spiritual mentors: Richard Rohr, Thomas Keating, Dallas Willard, Roberta Bondi, Mike Yaconelli, Mark Yaconelli, James Fowler, Tilden Edwards and Rose Mary Dougherty. In my work, I frequently draw upon those fine souls, as well as others, such as Henri Nouwen, Brennan Manning, Eugene Peterson, Parker Palmer, C.S. Lewis and Richard Foster.
I must say that I am probably even more indebted to a number of folks who worked with teenagers in the United Methodist community back in Oklahoma, when I was a teenager. Most were earthy contemplatives, some were justice workers, some pastors, some youth ministers, there were a number of poets and song-writers, and, nearly all of them had a wicked sense of humor (thank God)! They had names such as Kathleen Leithner, Ed Coy Light, Bill Tankersley, Leslie Penrose, Guy Langston, David Nichols, Dave Torbett, Dub Ambrose and Ginger Howel. But there were more. These were the persons whom first taught me such revitalizing practices as the breath prayer, lectio divina, sung chants, spiritual friendship, time in natural wilderness, praying a daily office, silence, solitude, serving those on the fringes of society and play as spiritual practice. The lived spirituality they passed to me is rooted in my UMC faith tradition and yet expressed in Monday to Monday real-world living beyond any church walls. Because of these wonderful souls, I have always felt at home as a “religious and spiritual” adventurer. Although I have a number of dear friends who claim the term “spiritual but not religious,” it lacks heft and authenticity for me personally. I feel so at home drawing on and living with my “one deep religious well” (as Rohr puts it), which includes saints and mystics from Methodism, Anglicanism, Catholicism, the Church undivided, the desert fathers and mothers, the Apostles, Jesus, his home tradition of Judaism and all the way down to Abraham, who found God’s love and presence without a tradition of any kind. All of it is together nourishing and feeding my days and my faith community.
Another contemplative I owe a great deal of thanks to is my uncle and friend, Sam Thornham, who convinced me to join him on a Centering Prayer retreat with Father Thomas Keating and a couple dozen others back in 1989. I had no idea who Keating was at the time. What an experience! Uncle Sam and I “cheated” a bit by actually talking well into the night — it was supposed to be a silent retreat. But my life trajectory was deeply changed, thanks to Keating and Sam.
Centering prayer, along with all of those other practices from my early years, took many years of gestation before being more fully woven into my daily life. This being my experience, I believe strongly in being a contemplative seed-planter/waterer with teenagers and the adults who whole-heartedly love teenagers. Now, as a spiritual formation minister and spiritual director, more of my time is spent leading and serving adults. But youth work holds a very special place in my life and always will.
If you are still reading this, you might be interested in my education, which is as follows:
Broken Arrow High School
Oklahoma City University (B.S. in Psychology)
Emory University, (MDiv)
Shalem Institute (completed their Program in Spiritual Guidance)
Fuller Theological Seminary (Doctor of Ministry, with a focus on contemplative-missional leadership)
Well, thanks for reading! And I especially thank you for praying the Scriptures with me via the podcast. I would enjoy hearing from you and learning about your life as well, so shoot me an email sometime: firstname.lastname@example.org or Todds@fumc-cs.org.
Deepest Peace with You,