If this were an AA meeting I would introduce myself this way, “Hi. My name is Brian Heron and I am a spiritual schizophrenic.” I often feel like I have a split personality when it comes to my spiritual identity. I serve as a Presbyterian minister at Eastminster Church in NE Portland, OR. With that role comes the usual preaching and worship responsibilities, pastoral care, committee work, and church administration. I do love what I do, don’t get me wrong. But there are limits to my religious life in this structure.
The other side of my spiritual life is nourished outside of the church building; in fact, outside of my Presbyterian tradition. I have always felt closest to God and the sacred when out on my bicycle touring through the countryside or climbing to the top of a mountain pass. I find as much enrichment in Native American stories, a yoga practice, and emerging cosmologies as I do in my own Biblical tradition. The journey of questioning, doubt, and exploration is as much a part of my spiritual identity as my commitment to the religious rhythm and life of the Church.
I am either a person who can’t quite decide what he wants to be when he grows up or I am a person eternally curious about the world. As such I have served three different Presbyterian churches, helped found a Unitarian Universalist church, worked as juvenile probation officer, coordinated bereavement services at Hospice, and directed foster care programs.
I have been an off-and-on serious cyclist for my whole adult life. In my early 20’s I took three years and just raced bicycles competively, qualifying twice for the National Championships. These days I tend to focus more on tours having completed Cycle Oregon three times, Seattle to Portland once, and did a solo weeklong tour through Yosemite.
This 10-week pilgrimage is my most ambitious cycling adventure yet and is intended to bring my two worlds together and end this spiritual schizophrenia once and for all!