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Mysticism and Meaning in My Thirties

In 1978 I embarked, by taking a single course—Psychology of Women—upon a clinical counseling degree. I continued to work as the English Editor and Curriculum Coordinator at the Native American Materials Development Center, a Native educational publishing house, while I took two or three courses at a time in the counseling program. In the foundations course, our text introduced us to writings by luminaries from all the well-known counseling theories. One of the existentialist humanists was Viktor Frankl, whose logotherapy posited that the most basic human drive is a need to live a purposeful life. However, the excerpt from his prolific writings addressed, not this fundamental tenet of his, but one of the useful but rather flashy techniques he developed—paradoxical intention, which treats OCD and anxiety disorder.

I was disappointed in that choice because Read More 
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Young Adulthood

Although I was seventeen when I started at Calvin College, I think of college as the beginning of young adulthood. Those were the years that I struggled mightily with the conflict between my sexual orientation and with what I began to learn about what my faith community said about who I was. No one else I knew was struggling with this, as the church hadn’t yet made its 1973 statement on homosexuality and Christianity. I have seen time and again that when people question something that the church takes as seriously as it does sexual orientation, they must also begin to ask other, even bigger questions with bigger consequences. Questions like, “What is the Bible, really?” and “What does it mean to me, if anything?”

At seventeen, I didn’t fully understand what questions I might have to ask regarding my sexuality and my faith; I was mostly feeling—feeling longing for romantic and erotic love, feeling fear of Read More 
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“It’s hard being a human being. And it’s even harder being a teenager.” Whenever I said that to one of my students, they agreed with a sense of relief. I said it pretty often. There is a certain universal comfort to be had in acknowledging the truth of the first sentence. And the second, too, even, for those of us who are long past our teen years—because we look back and remember and are glad we don’t have to relive them.

The first few books I mentioned from adolescence in To Drink from the Silver Cup were ones I read in my senior English class, and for me they exemplified  Read More 
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