Facilitating Powerful Change for Others Leads to Personal Transformation
Thanks to an internship grant from Wake Div, I had the opportunity spend this summer working as an intern at Stone Circles at the Stone House, a center for spiritual activism and nourishment in Mebane, NC. The simplest way to describe Stone Circles is as a retreat center which specifically works to sustain activists and organizers. This work is done through retreats led by spiritual teachers, workshops and trainings, and through the cultivation of a connection to the land, its ecosystem, and natural world. Stone Circles is a place for people of all spiritual and religious traditions, and no tradition. Many of the teachers’ and participants’ spiritual practice is connected to silence, meditation, and embodiment. At Stone Circles I had the opportunity to design and lead several retreats to support individuals and groups by facilitating strength, the sharing of stories, development of strategies, engagement in spiritual practices, and learning from silence in order to inspire possibilities for powerful change.
Working in this setting, I was able to cultivate a better sense of my own identity as a Christian leader. In church and divinity school, I often find myself the least Christocentric person; I love a lot of things about Christianity, but I also love sufi poetry, Buddhist meditation, and pagan ritual. I’m lukewarm about a lot of the Bible, Father-God and I are barely on speaking terms, and I hardly know any Christian hymns that don’t make me bristle at least once in their singing. But this summer, surrounded by people from so many backgrounds, I found myself hungry for wisdom from my spiritual mother tongue – for scripture and liturgy and sacrament. I began reading about Christian mystics and practicing lectio divina, found myself talking about Christian mystics and Benedictine rule. Here in the South, where Christianity is the dominant religion, many people, including me, have been personally wounded by Christian tradition and preaching. I don’t fault anyone for leaving the church based on these wounds, but I’m happy to say that my summer working in a spiritual-but-not-religious place lead me back to my roots, rather than away from them.
Second Year MDiv
To find out more about the work of Stone Circles as they strengthen the work for justice through strategic action, spiritual practice and a sustainable relationship between land and communities, visit http://www.stonecircles.org/.