People can meet with spiritual leaders of their own faith without having to talk with a religious leader or minister first, a new online guide for women’s religious leaders has said.
The guide was published Tuesday on the website of the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, a nonprofit think tank.
The guidelines offer suggestions for engaging with female spiritual leaders and ask them to share personal stories of their journeys.
They also advise women on how to seek advice from a spiritual leader when they need it.
In the past, women’s groups and faith groups have relied on men to lead meetings with women.
But the Pew guide says many women have sought spiritual leaders without male guidance.
“If you need to ask a spiritual guide for advice, you can find a woman,” the guide says.
“You can find women’s pastors, female spiritual teachers.
Women can also get their own spiritual teacher or spiritual guide.”
The guide advises that when asking for spiritual advice from someone, people should ask for “some personal context and understanding,” and not just “how do you feel.”
The guiding principle for the guide is “don’t just ask for what you want.”
It goes on to say that women can use “a lot of the same tools” that men do, and women who are seeking spiritual guidance from women should not “turn away from the spiritual conversation.”
But the guide also says that women should be mindful of the ways in which men can speak to them about issues such as sexual assault and domestic violence.
The guide says the focus on women’s rights can create a false perception that “the women’s movement has always been about women’s issues.”