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The Rev. Dave McFarland closed his eyes to summon details from that life-altering day.

It was Feb. 22, 1991. He was lying on the floor, surrounded by 50 people. They were performing breathing exercises at a spiritual retreat in San Francisco, where he felt the distinct sensation of “floating in space.”

Then came a message from above:

When you get off the floor, you have to start thinking about what it’s going to take to start serving.

“If anyone gets messages from God, that was mine,” said McFarland, 53, of the Mexican War Streets. “It was clear.”

McFarland, who grew up in the “bosom of the Baptist Church,” had always wanted to be a minister. It didn’t matter that life initially had other plans for him, or even that some religions — including his own — wouldn’t have him. When God spoke to him, McFarland said, “the various opinions of religions didn’t matter. God called. That’s what mattered.”

Sitting in the fifth row of pews in his North Side church, McFarland smiled. That moment 24 years ago, he observed, introduced constancy to a life of shifting identity.

Read Path to Authenticity led North Side Pastor to God at the Tribune-Review website.

 Path to Authenticity led North Side Pastor to God