Badass Counseling

Sven Erlandson

Very few spiritual leaders have lived a life so unusual as Sven Erlandson. He has experienced what most counselors and leaders only read about in books. Yet, it is precisely this odd life -- this incredible dash to live fully,  learn all the wisdom the universe has to offer, and then give his life in service of others -- that makes Sven such a brilliant, insightful, funny, and powerful speaker, writer, and spiritual counselor. He has been to hell and found his way out to find true and lasting peace, power, purpose, fulfillment, happiness.....and the enduring passion to help others find the same!

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“The Grand Goal Of Life Is ALIVENESS — That Sense Of Being Truly And Fully ALIVE And Vigorous In Every Moment. That Is What We All Seek. That Is The Goal!”

— Shakti Gawain, American Writer (1948 - Present)

Sven Erlandson's background, family history, experience, and education include:

  • Born in North Dakota, raised in Minnesota, college at the US Air Force Academy (and others), graduate school in Berkeley, CA, and presently living and working in Manhattan/New York City and Stamford, CT.
  • Father of the 'Spiritual but not religious' movement in America. First author in America to both name and delineate the then-unknown 'Spiritual but not religious' movement (which is now the single largest spiritual-religious movement in American history), years before the phrase entered common parlance and even longer before the movement reached critical mass in America. Cited in Wikipedia for this cutting-edge work
  • Author of five books (see Books  page for descriptions and to purchase), including:
    • I Steal Wives: A Serial Adulterer Reveals the REAL Reasons More and More 'Happily Married' Women are Cheating, Book One and Two
    • Badass Jesus: The Serious Athlete and a Life of Noble Purpose
    • The 7 Evangelical Myths: Untwisting the Theology behind the Politics
    • Rescuing God from Christianity: A Closet Christian, Christmas Christian, and Non-Christian's Guide to Radically Re-thinking God Stuff
    • Spiritual But Not Religious: A Call to Religious Revolution in America
  • Represented by the top literary agency in America
  • Father: Ordained Lutheran Pastor for over 60 years
  • Mother: Director of Christian Education, Writer, Seminary Adjunct Faculty
  • Four Uncles: Ordained Lutheran Pastors
  • Youngest of five brothers and one sister
  • Father of two adult children
  • Twice divorced
  • SERE-trained military
  • Air Force Pilot (glider planes)
  • National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Head Coach -- Strength and Conditioning
    • Coached/trained MMA fighters; NCAA, pro, and Olympic athletes;
  • Adjunct Lecturer at the Graduate and Undergraduate Levels (see Speaking page)
  • Master of Divinity degree (M.Div.) and Bachelor of Arts (Religious Studies & Mathematics)
    • Including years of study at the US Air Force Academy
    • Two-plus years of graduate work at a Catholic seminary, and two years at a Lutheran seminary, with additional work at Jewish, evangelical, and mainline seminaries
    • Studies in Hebrew, Greek (ancient and koine), Latin, and German
  • Advanced counseling certification and training, including clinical experience
    • Critical Incident Response Team training
    • Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE)
    • Advanced Pastoral Counseling
    • Peer Counseling Instructor Certification
    • Re-evaluative/Co-counseling training
  • Served four different churches in various Pastor positions, including
    • The very first full-time Sports and Recreation Pastor in the 500-year history of the Lutheran Church
  • 20+ years in private practice as a spiritual counselor
    • Private Excellence Counselor to NCAA coaches (Head, Assistants), from D1 to D3, CEOs, Hollywood stars, corporate executives, private businesspeople, athletes, couples, and more
  • Record-setting powerlifter
  • NCAA Division 1 football player, US Air Force Academy Falcons
  • Emergency Room Chaplain Intern at a Level One Trauma Center
  • Co-Manager and Lead Counselor, Critical Incident Response Team; Emergency Response Team, Sun Country Airlines
  • Published numerous articles and reviewed in:
    • Newspapers, Magazines, and ezines (The New York Resident, Minneapolis StarTribune, MetroLutheran, et al.)
    • International Theological Journals (Parish Teacher, Word and World, Missiology)
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  • For over seven years:
    • Living among and ministering to the needs of the homeless:
      • 2.5 years literally living on the street, sleeping on concrete every night -- California -- interacting with all races and types of people and problems
      • 5 years living in car -- Minnesota, California, Ohio -- reaching out to transient populations and the poorest of poor

“The Heart Has Its Reasons That Reason Cannot Know.”

— Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician And Writer (1623 - 1662)