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As is customary I’m beginning this year with a “look into the future”. Here’s what I’m thinking about Urban Mystic for 2023. I’ll update as the year goes and plans unfold and develop.

We’ve really been enjoying our “conversational pilgrimage” in Season 5 of The Podcast of the Urban Mystic. The first thing on our shared agenda is to complete this series. It’s proved challenging completing the series last year between Steve and my work schedules, availability, and late night energy levels. We’re committed to staying the course and teasing out “relational spirituality” around “intimacy with God” as an alternative to “formative spirituality” which is mostly an intra-relational journey. Both Relational Spirituality and Formational Spirituality involve an inward journey, yet the former can remain in the realm of limerence with ‘faith as the relationship’ and the other stands or falls on the foundation and fulfilment of reciprocal engagement.

My Research Proposal for my PhD is tentatively approved – and I got there in 3 months! What a milestone. The next step is to present to the academic department, defend my proposal, and then receive feedback to consider. After the presentation, defence, and feedback I’ll produce a Podcast in video for YouTube and audio podcast for Podbean. I believe this to be the best investment of my time and energy.

On the foundation of this research I’m looking to establish an Institute focused on Relational Spirituality and grow a team offering courses for small groups, spiritual direction/accompaniment for individuals, and coffee chats online and in person. I thrive on this and others do too! The downside is that because “wisdom” can’t be packaged it is a choice between charging for my services or representing God and relying on God’s gifts, which cannot be charged for. I’ve been risking the latter, being committed to God drawing near in Person to meet with people. And providing the support needed for people to cultivate a practice of the presence of God, which rests more on wisdom and desire than on teaching. It can’t really be packaged. I’ve made a link available via PayPal to support Urban Mystic and invite once-off and regular support.

I’m in need of additional funding to continue my research, the podcast, and the work I do with individuals. At present I work but don’t charge for my time or services. I’m shifting to a “pay what you can/want” model, which means making a PayPal link available but not making a thing of it. This is the most direct way for me to get support and saves the additional costs of having to transfer to PayPal and then to clear to my bank account. The truth is that most of those I work with just aren’t in a position to pay and when it comes to Relational Spirituality it is not something I should charge for. I invest my time and energy missionary for the benefit of others, which makes charging for it as a “service” not the right thing. And it’s hard to quantify “wisdom” and this stuff certainly can’t be packaged as a course. Within myself I know I’m called to this yet keep feeling like that 9-year old standing at the church begging and being told I don’t belong (for those who listen to my story on the Podcast). This inner stuff is tough!

Thank you for journeying with me. All the best for 2023.

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