Touchpoint Archive

Touchpoint Archive

Catch up on Touchpoints by Spirit in the Desert spiritual director, Henry Rojas, as well as archival Touchpoints by former faith mentor, Rev. “Bro. Jim” Hanson.

Touchpoint: The Lord Is My Shepherd; image is bright chalk drawing by Sieger Kader of Christ the Good Shepherd

Rest for the Inner Orphan

“Have you ever had a boss encourage you to take time off saying, “I’ll do your work for you”? When was the last time you had a boss “see” you and recognize you were burning out, then encourage you to rest before going back to work? You might think, ‘Others have more difficult, more demanding jobs than I; I don’t deserve to rest.’ Maybe you wonder, ‘Is there no one who will see the burden I carry?’ Perhaps you’ve thought, ‘I love my job, my work as a parent or as a student, but I’m overwhelmed.’ Maybe we need to channel our inner Jesus and Michael McCabe. Maybe we need to listen for the Shepherd’s call to a deserted place.”
Touchpoint: The death of John the Baptist. Painting by MARCEL-BÉRONNEAU of Salome holding the head of John the Baptist

John, Jesus and Ravi

“More happened in that session, and I went to my room and packed, ready to walk out of the Episcopal retreat center in LA’s Echo Park. I yelled to no one, aloud, “I can’t believe I’m paying for this abuse!” I sat on the edge of the bed and heard a voice inside me saying, “Henry, they are just a bunch of human beings.” (There was an expletive before the word ‘human’ that I left out.) I returned to the group and talked with Ravi, and he said, “Henry don’t ever lose your magic. But in spiritual direction, it’s about the directee, and how Spirit directs them together. You are a witness; listen for your own prompts.””
Touchpoint: Jesus Sends Out the Twelve. Image is watercolor painting by Wayne Pascall of Jesus and his disciples,

Shape of My Heart

“We have been told, or we may think, that we need to be fit. Boy scouts need to be prepared, yes! But why do we need to be prepared to love… to engage strangers and deliver life-giving seeds of new beginnings or watering the seeds already scattered? Jesus said, “You don’t need any other equipment; you are the equipment!” In talking to Samuel he said, ‘They don’t need a king to tell them what to do, they have me!'”
Touchpoint: The Other Side; image portrays a black woman on her knees reaching to touch the cloak of Jesus

The Other Side

Grace and peace to you from the Mystery in whom we live and move, and have our being. A woman healed. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, for she said, ‘If I but touch his cloak, I will be made well.’” Mark 5:21-43 A woman healed Whenever we go to the other side, we leave where we were. The Other Side can be a mystery. We are often led to…
Touchpoint: Jesus Calms the Storm; image of Rembrandt's painting of “Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee”

Boat Rides and Roller Coasters

“Jesus didn’t say, “Let’s get in a boat, get halfway, hit the worst storm ever, and feel like you’re going to die. Any takers?” Who is going to say, “Count me in!”? When I am facing dark moments, this tells me I must rely on the light that has been previously revealed. It’s best not to attempt to create my own light. Rather, depend on the light that has been previously revealed.”
Touchpoint: Mustard Seed Parable; image by Biyi Akinpelu of a mustard tree on a wide open field

Hidden Things

“I can’t help but take pause when I read the statements of faith from the largest and most influential churches and denominations in Phoenix, Arizona alone. They will remain nameless. This not intended to bash. It is simply what has caused my questions to emerge about belonging. I love and embrace the people who attend for purposes of children’s programs, vibrant worship, ecclesiastical comfort, duty, or passion and devotion to Christ. As a spiritual director it is not mine to determine or chastise the directions churches go in their basic assumptions. But it is mine to walk alongside many who have questions and seek those hidden meanings that have not yet transformed into brave words.”
Touchpoint: Who is your king? Image of a chess board with only the king still standing

The King’s Gambit

“When God tells Samuel, “They did not reject you, Samuel, they’re rejecting me,” God is reassuring Samuel that he did the right thing by not placing himself or anyone else above God. Even if he stands alone. He is not a failure as a king. He’s just not the kind of king they want. The Israelites want a king to do their bidding, not a King of Kings who is for them to live and move and have their being. There is only one King of all the Kings we’ve chosen. This King says, “Go ahead – choose who will lead, but understand the fallout, and know I was not chosen, I AM.”
Touchpoint: Remember the Sabbath. Image of Vincent Van Gogh's "Noon Rest from Work"

A Pause to Remember

“What were the religious leaders and lay judgers misunderstanding about the Sabbath? Perhaps it was that the commandment was not a matter of social and spiritual conduct, but rather a nurturing of the body in a state of rest, a way to stop the mental and physical spinning we get ourselves into. It is a gift that honors life and its nourishment, a time to rest and reflect on something greater than being producer and consumer. What is that something greater?”
Touchpoint: For God So Loved the World; watercolor image by Cassie Padilla of three crosses on Calvary with God crying in the background

Water and Spirit

“They were both in their own way earnestly seeking. Why didn’t Jesus acknowledge their desire and baptize them? Why didn’t he put his hands on the kneeling ruler and bless him? If hell hung precariously in the balance of their decision to follow Jesus, why wouldn’t Jesus tell them? Perhaps it’s because Nicodemus and the rich young ruler represents today’s church, who just can’t let go of their way, to follow The Way.”
Touchpoint: Valley of Dry Bones; image of skeletons on a desert floor

Dem Bones

“‘Do you see just dry bones? Or something more? Do you see the potential for new life? Or simply the wreckage of history? Do you see the bones coming together in a new way? Do you see the breath of Spirit in them? What is it you see, when you look at this world that seems only full of dry bones?’ Where I so often think I am looking at a world of dry bones, they were able to see a place of life-giving Spirit. Where I so often think I am looking at a world of dry bones, they were seeing a place that God has already put the Spirit within, and is alive.”
Touchpoint: Eternal Life. Watercolor of Jesus walking into heart-shaped clouds with cross in the distance

All in One and One in All

“Love has its source in God, because God is love. To love one another, means the source of love I offer the world, is also from God. If love is too much a burden to engage for me, then I have not come to know God, the source of all the love I have access. How can I understand a command to love my enemies, when I am not aware of the source of all love? Love would in some cases be a heavy burden because on our own, we have a limited capacity for love.”
Touchpoint: Abide in My Love; mosaic image of two hands folding a heart

The Way to Complete Joy

“Jesus provided the greatest command for living a life of joy, friendship, and love. He basically said, ‘I am welcoming you to abide in the agape (love of God). Bask in it and breathe it in. Be in awe of it then welcome (agapao) others. Do this as you are abiding.’”