Rock SchulerRock Schuler is the Rector (Pastor) of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Olney, Maryland. He has served as an ordained minister of the Episcopal Church since 1990 after studying for the priesthood at Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois. He was awarded a Doctorate of Ministry in Congregational Development in 2002. In the course of his ministry, Rock has served on an Indian Reservation, in rural Wyoming, and in major suburban areas. In addition to pastoring the people of his congregation, he has been involved in community service projects to serve the homeless, refugees, and the addicted. He’s also been involved in international outreach projects in Latin America and Africa. Rock’s spiritual roots lie in the early Christian Church, in Native American spirituality, in the liturgical worship and traditions of the Episcopal Church, and most especially in his own personal relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ. He appreciates the mystery and mysticism of the Christian faith while offering thanks for a lifelong and joyous love of Jesus. Rock, born in 1965, is from Wyoming, where he served his first two churches. He is married to Jennifer, whom he met while serving a parish outside of Philadelphia, and has two beautiful daughters, Leia and Rebecca. Rock is into science fiction and fantasy (especially "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Trek," "Lost," and "The Lord of the Rings"), movies, reading, kayaking/canoeing, hiking, and running.
How do I deal with spiritual dry spells and religious doubts?
Rock Schuler: The most important thing to recognize right upfront is that, every spiritual person goes through dry spells and every religious person has doubts. Every religious leader including Jesus went through times of trial when they doubted the purpose of God for them.
Jesus cried out from the cross, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me. It is not an uncommon experience, quiet the contrary, it is to be expected on the spiritual journeys to go through times of doubt and spiritual trial. How to handle those times, how to deal with those doubts? St. John at the cross really shows us the way. He told us that the best way to deal spiritual bareness is to continue on the spiritual path, to keep up our prayers, to maintain our spiritual disciplines and practices, to keep participating in rituals.
Even though we might believe, no one is listening to us. Even though we might think that God has forsaken us or was never there in the first place, yet if we continue on the journey, if we continue taking one step at a time, we will find that we will break into the light. It may take sometime and may be a difficult and argues journey but when we break into the light, we will see how God has been present to us in hidden and unseen ways, nurturing us with power beyond our imagination.
We will come out on the other end as far more mature, far more spiritually adapt then we ever would have been without the trial itself. Yes doubts and trials are part of the spiritual life. The call is to continue knowing that we will come out in a better place.