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About Chris Arnold


My name’s Chris, and I’m a spiritual director and retreat leader in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. I have studied with the spiritual direction program at the Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University in Chicago. I’m also a member of Spiritual Directors International, which is a network of support and education for spiritual companions and directors around the world. I offer “ordinary” spiritual direction as well as the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola.

I’m a priest in the Episcopal Church, as well. Ordained in 2010 in California, and I’ve served congregations in Appalachian Kentucky and Kansas, before coming to Wisconsin. After a decade of parish ministry, I have shifted gears to focus on the work of spiritual direction. Helping people with their spiritual journeys was a large part of my work as a parish priest, but now it is my focus!

Chris speaks with a nun

I wasn’t always a spiritual director or priest! Before I went to seminary, I worked in the software industry in Cambridge, England, and then in Seattle. I studied European History in at University of California, Santa Cruz (home of the Banana Slugs!), and graduated right as the dot-com boom was getting off the ground. All through my twenties, I worked for a series of tech companies, eventually becoming a Java application engineer. Eventually I started to feel the pull towards the church, and that led to ordained ministry. For seminary, I went to Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, California. I also got an MA in Liturgical Studies at the Graduate Theological Union.

Influences and interests

I’m a contemplative at heart. I love Carmelite spirituality; St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross and others write so well about the love of God. I find the practical and joyful spirituality of St. Ignatius of Loyola to be really helpful in my own life. I think the Spiritual Exercises that Ignatius created are an amazing tool for drawing closer to God and one’s calling. From my own Episcopalian and Anglican Christianity, I appreciate beauty, ceremony, ritual, and gentle moderation as paths into holiness.

It’s not all spirituality and religion (although I believe the big questions of the spiritual life weave into every aspect of our days)! I’m married and we have two cats. I love to cook, especially vegetarian soups. Because butterflies and other insects are under threat, we’re planting more and more Wisconsin native plants in our garden every year. I also like to follow my sports teams, play video games, and do jigsaw puzzles.

We share the journey

I haven’t even always been Christian! I grew up unchurched, largely skeptical of organized religion. I was Wiccan for a time in college. I’ve sat with Zen Buddhist and Quaker communities. I’ve studied Judaism. If you’re wrestling with your spiritual life, your relationship with religion, or God, I’ve been there myself. I’d love to talk with you about it.