Looking ahead in 2023

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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.

S05E17 – Our core values – Storytelling

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“I want to be right there at the coal face of meaning because I think that’s the truest true: to be there in the meaning at the depths of the relationship.”

– Steve Carter

In this episode we dive into one of our key values: storytelling.

Storytelling is vital to Relational Spirituality as its vital to relational depth. We all live in relation to stories, and yet we can live more in relation to stories than to the people those stories are about. And, we also often live more in relation to our own story and so can bound to it and lost within our own self.

The art of storytelling lies in self-discovery and then the sharing of this discovery with others. Through storytelling we can arrive at the true depth of living and loving and enter deeply into  our relationships.

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S05E15 – Preaching and Process – Part 3

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We continue tackling this foundation block of preaching in this second exploration of preaching and process. Preaching is often seen as a non-negotiable when it comes to church/spiritual community practice, with a huge value placed on it’s ability to transform individuals and groups.

This episode considers the difference between preaching and process. We explore the way that trust rests in the preacher with preaching and with the participants and God with processes. We also explore how process can be added to or fit into the context of church as is, and yet that there’s a need for and hope in a new paradigm centred on process and participation.

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S05E14 – Preaching and Process – Part 2

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We continue tackling this foundation block of preaching in this second exploration of preaching and process. Preaching is often seen as a non-negotiable when it comes to church/spiritual community practice, with a huge value placed on it’s ability to transform individuals and groups.

This episode considers the relation between preaching and the presence of God.

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S05E13 – Preaching and Process – Parts 1

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Following the episode on the Bible, Tim and Steve tackle one of the next foundation blocks in institutional religion: preaching. It is often seen as a non-negotiable when it comes to church/spiritual community practice, with a huge value placed on it’s ability to transform individuals and groups.

  • Why is it seen as the pinnacle of so much community practice?
  • Why the high value attributed to it’s transformative ability?
  • What are some of our personal experiences of preaching and it’s impact?
  • What are some of the possible egos and agendas at play in a church dynamic that keeps preaching at the top of the practice pyramid?

This episode puts down some thinking and possibilities on which a subsequent episode can build and focus on how process and embodied relational spirituality may provide much more than preaching in both it’s transformative efficacy and self & community relational integrity.

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S05E12 – So … the Bible?

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In this episode Tim and Steve take their first aim at the question of “What do you have to say about the Bible?”

This is a deeply complex subject, so this is both a stand alone episode within Season 5, but also must be understood as an introductory take on this important and multifaceted conversation. 

We hope you enjoy it, and would love to hear your thoughts in response.

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S05E11 – The after conversation with Steve

Steve & Inez

We’re sharing our own experience of God. This is by way of example of how deep and real these conversations can go.

This episode is the conversation that follows the morning after Steve shared his early experience of God with Tim.

If you’d like to explore your journey with us, contact us via the form on our website. The link is below.

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S05E10 – Steve’s early experience of God

Steve and his family 🙂

We’re sharing our own experience of God. This is by way of example of how deep and real these conversations can go.

In this episode Steve share’s the story of his early experience of God. In telling our stories in this way we gain insight into an enriching spirituality connected to God’s attentive, active, and relational presence.

If you’d like to explore your journey with us, contact us via the form on our website. The link is below.

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S05E09 – The conversation after Tim’s story

Tim Victor

We’re sharing our own experience of God. This is by way of example of how deep and real these conversations can go.

This episode is the conversation that follows the morning after Tim shared his early experience of God with Steve.

If you’d like to explore your journey with us, contact us via the form on our website. The link is below.

Support Urban Mystic

Website | FaceBook | PayPal