Share the story of David G. R. Keller and provide encouragement for your path
About This Website
My name is David G. R. Keller and I have been walking a Christian path for 84 years. The oasisofwisdom.org website is an opportunity to share what I have learned and experienced as an Episcopal priest for 59 years. My ministry as pastor, spiritual guide, and teacher has taken place in small log churches in Athabaskan Indian villages in Alaska as well as urban congregations in a variety of places. I have provided pastoral care and taught English and biblical studies in maximum security prisons for men and women in Alaska and Arizona. I have taught part-time at universities and seminaries, helped form and lead a contemplative prayer community, and guided the life of a contemplative retreat center. My teaching is not directed at scholars; it is designed for persons who have not had opportunities for formal biblical and theological study. My Christian life and vision have been influenced and enlightened by Native American, Hindu, and Zen Buddhist mentors. See “Website Author” for more details.
In the late 1970s I was working with Native American leaders developing training and spiritual formation for indigenous Christian ministries in Indian and Eskimo villages in Alaska. One day I was visited by a revered Athabaskan Indian elder and village chief. In a Spirit-filled manner he told me that when I left Alaska, I would be a teacher and spiritual guide to many people. His words were unexpected yet described what would become my ministry for the next forty years.
This website offers free access to what I have shared with a wide variety of people. It includes audio talks, essays, and booklets on a variety of subjects. Little of my teaching and spiritual guidance is original. I have been influenced by many mentors and experiences. I hope these experiences and learning may be helpful for a variety of persons from differing sacred traditions or no tradition. My Christian path may not be your path, yet it may provide direction for the path you have chosen. For the past fifteen years many friends and colleagues, including Fr. Thomas Keating, a Cistercian monk, and Fr. Thomas Hand, a Jesuit priest, have suggested that I find a way to share what you will find on this website. Now that I am 84, I am finally getting around to it with the creative help of Larry Todd Wilson and my wife, Emily Wilmer.
My purpose is to share, not convert. I hope what you find here will encourage and enlighten your path as so many others have guided my own.
I am grateful for mentors who have guided and formed me in so many ways, especially my father, David G. R. Keller, Sr., and my mother, Elizabeth Benjamin Keller Dee. In high school Robert Clayton and Harold Nichols taught me about the Christian path by the way they lived. I wanted to be like them. In seminary W. Norman Pittenger and Lawrence Rose helped me understand that sharing the significance of Jesus in a complex society requires more than imparting knowledge and must be rooted in a life of prayer. Later in life Jean Dementi showed me that preaching about Jesus becomes effective when it emerges from a pattern of inclusive and pastoral service to other persons. Norma Thompson at New York University helped form me as a teacher. Thomas Hand, S.J. taught me the richness of Christian contemplative experience and ways to listen to the inner voice of the gospels that make Jesus’ life real today. Donald Allchin showed me that Jesus calls every human being to make God’s life tangible in their way of living. The Sisters of Mercy, Suzanne Toolan, RSM and Marguerite Buchanan, RSM have inspired and guided my life with God with wisdom and a great sense of humor. Columba Stewart, OSB and Mary Forman, OSB opened the worlds of the Desert Mothers and Fathers to me. My wife, Emily Wilmer, has helped me discover that two people with differing styles can work seamlessly together. I am grateful for her support and guidance. Larry Todd Wilson, owner of Knowledge Harvesting, Inc. helped me identify these mentors, articulate what means most to me as a priest and teacher, and discern ways to share what has been given to me. The website design skills and commitment of Ryan Williams, Founder of EXPERIMPACT, have given life to my hopes for this website. I could not have asked for more.