John Koon is a queer spiritual director who longs for all people to experience the wholeness and interior freedom that is their birthright right here, right now. With a background in evangelical Christianity and currently at home on the margins of progressive Christianity while drawing from the wisdom of other faith traditions, John is not a stranger to doubt, difficult questions, and significant shifts in theology and spirituality.
Likewise, many of John’s clients have experienced significant shifts in their faith identity and are exploring what spirituality means for them now. Many of them identify as LGBTQIA+ and are seeking ways to integrate their sexuality and gender identity with their spirituality and relationship with the Divine. Or some of them are simply asking questions about theology, faith, and God and need a safe space in which to process those things. Some want to know how the Divine is with them in their experiences, feelings, questions, and relationships. Do their lives hold any deeper meaning?
After receiving a Bachelor of Music in cello performance in 2005 and a Master of Education in organizational leadership in 2006 from Vanderbilt University (Nashville, TN), John spent eight years in non-profit work in Romania and Moldova where he encountered and was transformed by the presence of love among children living on the margins of society. In 2018 he was honored to be included in the New Contemplatives Initiative of Spiritual Directors International. John then received a Certificate in Spiritual Formation and the Art of Spiritual Direction from the Wellstreams Program of The Spirituality Network (Columbus, OH) in May 2019.
Outside of work, John enjoys playing cello, practicing Ashtanga yoga, cooking plant-based meals, and spending time with his spouse, Rachel, and children, Oscar and Genevieve. His spiritual influences include Richard Rohr, Thich Nhat Hanh, Christena Cleveland, Anne Lamott, Mirabai Starr, Danya Ruttenberg, Henri Nouwen, Rev. angel Kyodo williams, Rob Bell, Mother Teresa, Thomas Keating, and the children in Romania and Moldova who forever changed him.
Some of his writing can be found here, including a piece that describes the inspiration behind the name of his practice, "Under the Sweetgum."