James Houston speaks of “mentoring,” Bob Logan speaks of “coaching,” and others speak of “spiritual direction.” Each of these terms describe a specific methodology; but what they have in common is the concept of one person walking alongside another. In a world that is becoming more and more individual, where we define our uniqueness by our social media statements and the number of responses received, we each need people who will walk alongside us.
When we are looking for help from the right kind of people, “teachers” are not enough . . . We forget that the nurturing and caring relationship is inherent in effective teaching. Wisdom, after all, is more than data processing. Activism that is devoted to a cause can also be a poor substitute for relationships, because it is too busy to cultivate friendship. The Greek philosophers were wiser when they stated that “thought is not meaningful without action; and action is not meaningful without friendship.” James Houston, “The Mentored Life”
I encourage all of us to have people who will walk with us as either coach, mentor, or spiritual director. More than ever we need friends who will help us become real people with real thoughts and real actions. We need people who will ask us what is going on when we are “out of sorts.” We need people who will encourage us when we are down. We need people who will slow us down when we are moving too fast. We need people who care about what happens to us.