Tuesday, August 9 2022 - 12:53 PM

Your Spiritual Journey by Monte Sahlin – Part Two

By Warren E. Nelson


Part 2–The Spirit and the Dragonfly


It turns out that one of the biggest challenges we all face is change. And in an environment that places such huge value on lifestyle standards, Ten Commandments and the “end of time,” fresh thinking is rarely allowed, let alone encouraged.

Start asking questions about Ellen White’s status as a prophet in Sabbath School class and see what happens. You may be safe if you’re attending an “institutional” church, one mainly associated with an Adventist university (remember when they were all colleges?) or an SDA hospital. Just be careful if you decide to make the query in a small church that sees a pastor once a month.

Monte had some great insights about change in church and our lives, in general. There’s a lot more in the book!


I’d like to talk about the fact that the model of spiritual development you describe in the books is similar to the grieving process model we’ve all encountered. It’s not unusual to move  back and forth between stages. Correct?


It is a description of where people are at various times in their journey. It’s like hiking a trail…journeys can and, likely will, circle back. They go up the mountain. They go down the mountain and they go left to go right. It’s all part of human journeys, spiritual journeys, life development and it’s never perfect. Its direction or its steps are natural.

So there are people who discover that maybe the spiritual maturity is really not where they’re comfortable and they move back to a place where they are comfortable and frankly in religion memories of an earlier time become increasingly important to a certain percentage of people later in life.

I remember a friend said to me how much he cherished the memory of when he was in sixth or seventh grade, singing in a child’s choir at Christmas, lighting candles, looking at the Christmas tree and how important that had become to him and and he needed to recapture that in order to have some comfort and sense of a resting place in his journey. For a lot of people that’s true. For other people the intrigue of moving on into new territories, new thoughts, new ways of perceiving the world and oneself are a constant attraction right up to the day they pass on.


It’s interesting you should mention “passing on.” Because of the COVID pandemic and the stage of my life (I’m 70!), I’ve been involved with people dying who were important in my life far more frequently than I’ve experienced before. And one huge benefit of this model for me is that it let me be comfortable with wherever these folk and their families were in that process. I was able to be comfortable being with them, no matter their view of what was happening to them and their loved ones. Could you talk about that?


Yes! I think that it should not affect our appreciation or our love for a person because of where they’re at. It’s their journey. We have no rights to analyze it, put a label on it, judge it. We have no right to do that. It is one of the most precious inner aspects of the human being, the spiritual.

It would be utterly wrong for us to say, “I wish so-and-so were where I am.” That’s completely wrong. That’s a kind of violence; spiritual violence. That just pains me to think about. Period.

And I’ll confess. Part of what I appreciate about the Adventist heritage I have is the possibility that the journey is not over, that there is a new earth and a further journey toward which we can look. That for me is a very ultimately comforting thought.


I have a loved one who every time she sees a dragonfly believes it’s a relative communicating with her. And it’s a great comfort to her!


From my theological perspective, I’d ask “Who’s the voice of the dragonfly?” Maybe the Holy Spirit is glad to take on that persona and talk with someone who needs it. Yeah, my picture of God is that He treats us as we need, not according to any ironclad structures and ideas.

I hope you find this interview helpful. I did! So, here’s the link to the book. The Kindle version is cheaper than a grande caramel latte and muffin!

“Part 3–Change Is Everywhere…Sigh” is coming soon.

–Warren E. Nelson (Butch)

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