Contemplative Life, Coracle News

Deconstruction & Discernment: The Overlap

As we have pursued our two major series this year– “Discernment: Hearing God in a Noisy World” and “Doubt, Deconstruction & Redemption”– we have come to recognize a significant overlap at the core of what each is pursuing.  At root, both series are seeking to help us recognize and recover things that are deeply true, beautiful, even essential about our lives with God in the world amidst a host of factors that obscure those essentials.

On the Discernment side, we have sought to tune our ears to God’s unique voice of love to each of us, even as we have acknowledged our oversaturation from competing voices vying for our attention and allegiance.  When it comes to Deconstruction, we have noted a variety of factors from which we need to “disentangle” the gold of beautiful Christianity from the dross of our cultural baggage; coming up in a couple of weeks, we will explore ways we can faithfully move forward together through the challenges of our present moment.

It has been a gift to walk through these often fraught topics with so many of you, and there is much we are looking forward to in the months ahead!  Now that we are more or less halfway through the year, though, we wanted to take a moment to share something that has been a real source of encouragement for the Coracle team as we have sought to steward these weighty conversations:

The practices and rhythms of life we have identified as most helpful and needed are precisely those things Coracle has offered for years.

We would be very suspicious of a claim like that if it weren’t for so many other ministries we respect– like the
Center for Formation, Justice, and Peace, Practicing the Way, the Order of the Common Life, and Renovaré– reaching the same conclusion.  Across the nation, Christian leaders are reasserting the crucial importance of Spiritual Formation as an essential step in renewing our communities of faith.  In Robert Mulholland’s famous definition, Spiritual Formation is “being conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others.”  We are all called to become (in C.S. Lewis’ phrase) “little Christs,” literally becoming his hands and feet on earth, loving and serving the world just as he did.

The church through the centuries has identified a number of practices and rhythms of life which can help us become the ongoing presence of God in the brokenness of the world, and over our ten years of ministry, Coracle has sought to make as many of those as available as possible.  For those wrestling with the cultural forces underneath much of the deconstruction and thirst for true discernment we see around us, these offerings can be a source of much healing, growth, and redemption.


Highlighting the importance of prayer in the Christian life may seem obvious, but it is nonetheless necessary.  The truth is, many of us simply aren’t exposed to the rich breadth of prayer practices and approaches that can help us develop the intimate, conversational relationship with God we all desire.  Whether it means being brutally honest to God with our doubts and questions, or learning to recognize God’s voice speaking through art, scripture, or creation– we will never move past the invitation to a deeper prayer life with God.

There are two concrete and ongoing ways Coracle seeks to help us say “yes”  to that invitation: 

Spiritual Direction

I wrote more about this special offering Here, but suffice it to say, one of the best ways to grow in your prayer life is through the guidance and companionship of a trained Spiritual Director.  Coracle has over 30, and if you’d like to learn how to connect with one, Margot Eyring, our Spiritual Direction Coordinator, would love to talk with you!

Space for God

Since the fall of 2020, we have been gathering on Zoom every Tuesday morning for 30-min to encounter God through prayer, beauty, and Scripture.  We feel deeply blessed to steward this time, which has been an anchor for us and for folks across the globe through some turbulent years.


One of the best ways to stay connected with God, especially when life is “loud,” is to go on a spiritual retreat, whether alone or in community.  Jesus and saints throughout the centuries have modeled this life-giving practice for us, and Coracle is grateful to offer two primary ways to start integrating a rhythm of retreat into your spiritual life:


A 17-acre spiritual retreat home in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley, Corhaven means “rest for the heart” and was founded by Bill and Tara Haley back in 2010.  Corhaven offers individuals and small groups a chance to step back, rest, and focus on God. The 17-acre wooded property contains a network of trails and clearings, a creek with stations for prayer and reflection, and a variety of spaces to connect with God.  

If you’re wanting to discern God’s voice and need silence and solitude to do that, Corhaven is perfect for that.  If you’re struggling with deep questions about your faith (maybe ‘deconstructing’), the Christian faith in general, have big questions, or are experiencing disillusionment with the church or God, Bill would be happy to sit with you at Corhaven and hear you and have a conversation about it.

Request a reservation Here.

Coracle Fellowship Program

For over 5 years, we have offered this transformative 12-retreat journey to men and women longing for More in their relationships with God.  We now offer three distinct “paths” on which you can join us as a Coracle Fellow:

    • At Corhaven: this in-person program runs over 12 months (January-December) at Coracle’s retreat center in the Shenandoah Valley. It is taught by Bill Haley and other Fellowship faculty.
    • In Baltimore: this in-person program runs over 20 months (September 2022 – May 2024) at Church of the Resurrection just outside of Baltimore, MD.  It is taught by Scott Buresh and other Baltimore Fellowship Faculty.
    • Online: this 12-month program runs concurrently with our Corhaven program, but is available to anyone, anywhere!


One major way the church through the centuries has helped followers of Jesus grow in spiritual maturity is through intentional immersions in the story of God at work in the world.  For those of us seeking to get past the cultural entanglements obscuring the beautiful Christianity we know is there, these two “deeper journeys” can be helpful steps in that journey:

Essential Christianity

Bill Haley lays out the 15 major movements of the Christian story in a way many have found refreshing, exciting, and inviting.  You are welcome to explore the “Essential Christianity” book Here.  We are currently working on developing Bill’s teaching content flowing from the book into a more accessible resource for individuals and small groups.

Coracle Fellowship Program: See above!


This ancient spiritual practice offers the opportunity to take a journey with God in order to meet God in the broken and beautiful places of our world.  Getting out of our own cultural context has a tremendous ability to help us recognize our blind spots and behold the global story God is still writing.  

In the past, we have encountered Israel/Palestine, walked on El Camino de Santiago de Compostela, visited the growing church in Nepal, trekked in the Himalayas, traversed St. Cuthbert’s Way, explored the history of slavery in Virginia, and walked alongside men and women in Guatemala and El Paso/Ciudad Juarez seeking refuge in the U.S.  We aim for places full of history, stunning beauty, and the palpable sense of the presence of God.  We also go to places of stunning brokenness to find beauty and God there too.  As the world continues to re-open, we hope you will consider joining us on pilgrimage soon!

As we seek to be conformed to the image of Christ for the sake of others, we are honored to offer these various ways to help us in our wrestling, our listening, and our journeying with God!

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