Rev. Matthew Syrdal M.Div, lives in the front range of Colorado with his beautiful family. Matt is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian church (USA), founder and lead guide of WilderSoul TM and Church of Lost Walls TM and co-founder of Seminary of the Wild TM. Matt is a fine artist who speaks writes and offers workshops, retreats, and guides immersive nature-based experiences around the country. Matt has studied ancient Christian Rites of Initiation, has studied World Religions, anthropology and rites-of-passage. Matt has spent several years developing Celtic and indigenous Christian practices oriented towards nature-based leadership, liturgy, retreats, and group immersions, for the cultivation of greater wholeness, and deepening soul work for greater service to the world.
Matt’s passion is guiding others in the discovery of “treasure hidden in the field” of their deepest lives cultivating deep wholeness and re-enchantment of the natural world to apprentice fully and dangerously to the kingdom of god. Matt has been coaching, and guiding since becoming a certified Wild Mind nature-based human development guide through the Animas Valley Institute and is currently training to become a soul initiation guide through the SAIP program.
Matt seeks to re-wild what it means to be human. His work weaves in myth and ceremony in nature as a way for people to enter into conversation with the storied world in which they are a part. In referencing this “storied-world,” Matt says, “there is a constellation of relationships with the more-than-human world in which our sense of self-hood, community, and myth emerges from a deep conversation that is always happening around us.”
Matt offers retreat leadership for churches, groups, and faith organizations that have discerned the call to rewild their organization or ministry in worship, sacraments, spiritual practices, education, and service-oriented outreach. Leadership is experiential and practical with the goal of cultivating greater interpersonal and intrapersonal wholeness through nature-based practices and group work.
Matt provides dynamic, insightful, engaging and practical speaking opportunities for churches, organizations and conferences seeking to deepen into the greater conversation and urgent exploration of issues related to eco-theology and deep incarnational theology, wholeness based and soul-rooted leadership development, and the adaptive challenges for the church in the 21st century.
Are you interested in cultivating deeper wholeness? Have you identified areas in your life in which you feel stuck or wounded? Are you aware of aspects of yourself, overriding narratives or sub personalities, that emotionally hijack you, making you react in ways which prevent you from living from your deeper authentic self, your wholeness? Do you feel burnt out, or frustrated in difficult relationships at work or home? Have you experienced moments of feeling fully alive, a generative and empathic presence within you, a creative call of the wild, a deeper poetry of soul that you would like to explore or pursue?
Matt offers resources and mentoring for individuals interested in cultivating their original wholeness - encountering and living from True Self. Nature-based practices rooted in Celtic and indigenous Christian spirituality include: dreamwork, exploring deep imagery, mirroring, and guided invitations to personal ceremony. If you are interested you may arrange a Skype appointments, personal visits, or a wander on the land.
Matt guides nature-based intensives and immersions designed to discover and cultivate the inner-resources of what mystics call the true Self, “the treasure hidden in the field.” Engaging in the deep work of the Spirit in conversation with the natural wold (the sacred book of Nature) through practices of wholeness and Self-healing are integral to becoming a wild disciple and a leader in this age. Visit the retreats and immersions page for more information or contact Matt directly for more information.
“We explore contemporary approaches to native and Celtic paths of spirituality within the Christ tradition, seeking belonging, wholeness, transformation, and deeper service to the world.”
About Church of Lost Walls
Church of Lost Walls is a living expression of church seeking to journey beyond our walls into wild enchanting thresholds where nature, spirituality, and life meet in deep Conversation and sacred community for the cultivation of greater wholeness and service to the world.
We are not normal church happening outside, our dream is to participate in and partner with creation through learning, worship, meditation and prayer. Through nature-based practices that draw upon the wisdom of sacred narratives and older traditions, we seek to cultivate nature connection and personal wholeness to inspire and guide one another into a culturally creative vision of life within our expanding circles of community, culture, the wild earth, and the great mystery we call God.
This culturally creative vision can be discovered in the depths of our unique Imago Dei (Gen 1), what poet David Whyte refers to as the “truth at the center of the image you were born with,” and Bill Plotkin refers to as the soul-image. In the teachings of Jesus, it is the “treasure hidden in the field,” what poet Mary Oliver calls your “one wild and precious life”.
We are a community that is safe for Christians and people of other faith traditions who are looking to connect more deeply with nature, explore the mystery of faith in community, and experiencewhat Fr. Thomas Keating and Thomas Merton call the True Self.
We are a community that is safe for people leaving or who have left established forms of religious practice who feel it is not in touch with the natural world or ecological issues.
We are a community that is welcoming to people outside of church, or from a variety of earth spirituality paths interested in exploring another perspective within the indigenous Christ tradition.
Longing and Belonging
Do you ever wonder who you really are, about where you most truly belong? These are two of the great questions and quests we share as humans. This quest for belonging, this search in the common ground of our shared humanity, presents us with both a cultural task and a nature task - at some point we may even experience a crisis. It is a calling to enter the deeper Conversation with the natural world, our soul, and the divine Mystery (John 1). To explore through deeper conversation our ultimate identity and place in the world for which we were born. Some Christian mystics call this our True Self. Parker Palmer refers to it as "our true life which awaits us." For poet Mary Oliver it is our "one, wild and precious life." Still others, including Jesus, called it the soul.
Church of Lost Walls offers a place of deep belonging, a conversation safe enough, yet sacred and wild enough to allow us to explore the terrain of our one true life, to listen to and speak that which lies hidden there. We seek to be a community where all are fully seen and heard, where the walls that ordinarily divide us and separate us from a full life, become lost in the deeper Story. We gather in circle with our fellow humans and in ever widening circles of what cosmologist Brian Swimme calls our "more-than-human" community - the natural world itself. We practice an attitude of deep welcome and belonging through heart-centered listening, sacred storytelling, gathering around a meal in monthly gatherings in homes and on the land.
Many people feel walled off from the world, the artifice Western society has constructed, because it doesn't seem real. Most of us haven't learned to trust our deeper intuitions about ourselves or the world. Many of us have experienced church or religion as a barrier to a fully human life. What does it mean to be real, anyway? To live authentically requires enough security to be vulnerable and speak that which is most alive and true in the moment, in our lives - the good and the bad. Perhaps greater than our desire to live an authentic life, is a longing to become whole. To live from a place of wholeness is to live into our birthright inheritance, the divine nature. It is to live from our fullest and deepest potential, our true Self. We no longer need to replay those old audiocassette narratives that protect us by keeping us small. We no longer need to be colonized by those myriad wounded voices, no longer living and leading from a place of exhaustion and burnout. Church of Lost Walls invites us to experience and explore our original wholeness in Christ, nature and community.
The community gathered in circle becomes a container of wholeness, safe enough for the walls to come down and invite into the conversation whoever wants to show up. Practices and skills for engendering authentic, soul-rooted community that can be extended into the home and workplace. These practices are rooted in heart-centered listening, speaking, witnessing, deepening and mirroring - offering one another the gift of freedom and dignity of our own stories.
In Greater Service to the World
Fredrick Beuchner says that the place we are called is the place “where our deep gladness meets the world’s deep hunger.” One of the simple truths of life is that we will nurture, protect and fight for that which we most love. Great service to the world does not simply demand heroic sacrifice alone. The great wisdom hymn written by St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians reveals that all great service originates from and is fulfilled in the mystery of love. Without love, there is really no-thing. In fact the Christian mystics, including Ilia Delio and Teilhard de Chardin, affirmed love as the cosmic, emergent becoming of the Universe itself. We best serve the world by falling in love with the world. This means we must first deeply belong to the world, more deeply than our political, religious, racial and ethnic loyalties, so that, in deeply belonging we might become whole. When we cultivate wholeness, we begin to live from our deepest nature. A lifestyle shift from "dominance over nature" to "participation with nature" begins to occur as we discover hidden gifts and resources from our wholeness needed to more deeply serve the human and other-than-human world we share.