Editor's Note: Northwest Arkansas Media this week begins its new, periodic feature: "Spiritually Speaking." Area pastors are asked to answer our email questions about themselves, their beliefs and their passions.
As an interfaith and interspiritual minister, I don't have just one spiritual home or community, and my ministry is a bit unconventional. Rather than being a pastor at a church or a chaplain at a corporation or institution, I provide emotional and spiritual support through a private practice: Sacred Fields of Possibility. And, while I'm comfortable in traditional spiritual places (such as churches), I consider every place as sacred, bursting with possibilities to connect with the divine, humanity, and all of life, and opportunities to be of service.
The Rev. Jan Huneycutt Lightner
Q. List your education and work experience.
A. I'm ordained through One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and certified as a clinical chaplain and pastoral counselor through Northwest Arkansas Clinical Pastoral Education Institute and the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy. Drawing from clinical, therapeutic and spiritual practices, I help people navigate life, find meaning in adversity, and find tools that can assist them in moving forward. Certifications in grief counseling and pastoral thanatology allow me to counsel people through the social, emotional and spiritual aspects of dying, death and grief. I provide services to employees who have personal challenges that threaten job performance, health and well-being through Employee Assistance Program contracts. And, I enjoy officiating religious, nonreligious, spiritual and multi-faith weddings.
Q.What was your call to ministry?
A. My "calling" is to create sacred space in which people can share and explore their life story. I'm called to listen with my ears and my heart ... to engage people on the spiritual level -- regardless of their spiritual language or experience ... to continually open my heart wider and wider to the spectrum of human experience ... and, to be willing to be changed by the people with whom I connect.
I am called to honor all religious and spiritual paths, even while personally embracing and being more knowledgeable about a few. This means I focus on the highest common denominator in the world's wisdom traditions: Love.
Q. Tell us something most people don't know about you.
A. The day begins with hot water and fresh lemon, coffee, yoga, Gurmukhi chanting and reading sacred poetry (in that order). The day closes with prayer and repeating the vow I took at ordination.
Q. What is the message you work to share?
A. We are all more alike than we are different -- we are born and we will die, and, in between those two events, we all are trying to figure out what it means to be human, how the universe works, and what God's and our place is. We want to be loved and to love; we struggle to make sense or meaning in pain and suffering; and, deep down, we wrestle with fear and the reality that we don't have the level of control we want -- especially in matters of life and death. Fortunately, we also have moments of profound peace; we experience joy and awe that stops us mid-step. Because we are all more alike than different, loving-kindness is what matters most and it is at the core of every sincere spiritual, religious or humanistic path.
Q. What happens after we die?
A. Regardless of what we believe, much of life and death remains in the realm of Mystery. It's been said that what a person believes about God is more telling about that person than it is about God. The same thing can be said about beliefs surrounding death and what happens after we die; thus, my answer tells you more about me than it will about the truth of what really happens.
Having studied spirituality, death and dying from many cultural and religious perspectives, and having had the honor of journeying alongside people who are preparing to die or are actively dying, I will only say that, after we die, we return to the Source from which we came. I leave the rest in the realm of Mystery.NAN Religion on 06/21/2014
Print Headline: Minister Connects Divine, Humanity in Private Practice