Reverend Mark’s Key Sources for Spiritual Discernment

The following authors and their books have helped Pastor Mark in his practices of spiritual discernment:


  • Luke, the Physician and Evangelist, “The Gospel of Luke.” This is my favorite gospel as Luke’s portrayal of Jesus is one of a boundary crosser – between social, religious, gender, and spiritual boundaries. As a disciple of Jesus, my starting place for discerning God’s will is Jesus’ teachings, his way of ministering, and his mystical union with the Holy. Luke invites Christians to probe and question boundaries that are often arbitrary and set limits as to who can share power for the sake of maintaining economic privilege.


  • Thomas Merton, “The Seven Storey Mountain.” Merton helped the church rediscover its soul after centuries of institutionalism. His journey probed the depths of spirituality and social justice. He invited readers to do the same. Merton helped me to question what it means to be a person of faith while engaging the world in all its beauty and horror.


  • Mary Oliver, “A Thousand Mornings: Poems.” Poets such as Oliver use words to cut through the mundane so that we might recognize the Sacred. Oliver helps me aspire to see Truth in all things, especially those that are revealed in the natural world. This collection was part of my spiritual journey that now includes an hour each morning for spiritual practices of “waking up” to God.


  • Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, “The Third Reconstruction: How a Moral Movement Is Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear.” Barber is a guide to 21st Century Christianity spirituality that bridges the gap between personal piety and social activism. He begs readers to ask, “What is the right thing for Christians to do when so many people are being discounted as second class citizens?”


  • Pema Chödrön, “When Things Fall Apart.” This Buddhist monk sees the crux of a full and healthy spiritual life dependent upon the manner with which we approach suffering. Chödrön offers guidance to accept life on its own terms. She paints a landscape as to how one might manage an interior life when the outer world is turned inside-out.